This is our weekly devotion written by my mom, Estelene. If you like this post and want to read more of her devotions, visit the Faith Page.
Oh be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down with tender love. Oh be careful little tongue what you say.
Did you sing this song in children’s church when you were growing up? I did. For the next few weeks, unless God lays something else on my heart, we are going to search the scriptures on the topics of our tongues, feet, hands, ears, and eyes. More than likely, I am not going to tell you anything you do not already know. But God has to remind us over and over again the areas of our lives we need to clean out or clean up. If this series of devotions irritates you and rubs you the wrong way, don’t exit the web site. Continue reading. Maybe God is saying to you that it is time you do something about what you say, where you go, how you use your hands, what you listen to, and what you look at.
James, the brother of Jesus and a very influential leader of the early church in Jerusalem, is the author of the small book of James. He recognized how damaging our words can be and felt it was imperative to devote an entire chapter on the subject of taming the tongue.
James 3:5-12 says,
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
As you read the above scripture, did you feel ashamed? I did. What James wrote was so true. He did not beat around the bush. He came right out and said that our mouths are totally out of control. What is even worse is the fact that man cannot tame the tongue. Isn’t it sad to know that man can tame the creatures that God created, but he is unable to tame his own tongue?
There are times when we boast about our accomplishments whether we are talking about our talents, our skills, our possessions, etc. Do we not realize that we are nothing without God? He has given us everything we have including our talents and skills. They are gifts from God and are to be used for God.
“Guess what I just heard? I was told not to say anything, but I know you won’t tell anyone. Well, I don’t know if it is actually true, but…..” Sound familiar? We know we should not do it, but it is so much fun. It is such a big temptation to spread a little gossip. You have got to tell just one person. The weight of the secret is way too heavy for you to carry. Once you tell it, it is like a relief. But like an addiction, you have to tell someone else. What if you were the one the story was about? Would you want others to talk about you? Of course you wouldn’t.
How many of us have said something out of anger and wished we could take it back? I have. The problem is that what has already been spoken from the mouth can’t be taken back. Many relationships have been destroyed by hurtful and evil words, and it only takes one. Just like a spark that can ignite and destroy a beautiful forest.
We walk into the house of the Lord, sing songs of praise and adoration, and then walk right back out and talk about the people we just worshipped with. Some of them we can barely tolerate. James slaps our hands and says, “No.” These people are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must not praise God and curse the ones He made in his own image.
Who do we hurt the most? Our loved ones. Why? Maybe it is because we know that they will continue to love us no matter what we say, and maybe we think we have the right to speak whatever we regurgitate. Friends, let’s not take advantage of the love our family feels for us whether it is your spouse, your children, your parents, or you siblings. Little children are so forgiving, but what we say to them can affect them for the rest of their lives. Speak words of love and kindness even while you are disciplining them. Give them the respect they deserve and need, and they, in turn, will give you the respect you deserve and need.
If we are unable to tame our tongues, what are we supposed to do? With a sincere heart we are to ask the Holy Spirit to help us. Then think twice before speaking. Ask God if what you are about to say are words He would want you to speak. Often I pray that everything I say, do, and think be pleasing to him. There is no doubt that it is a daily struggle. But with God’s help and your determination to restrain from opening your mouth when you should keep it closed, the tongue can be a tool used to honor our Lord Jesus Christ.
May God go with you through this week.