Taming the Tongue

James 3:7-12 KJV

For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

James continues on his quest try to get us to control our tongues by explaining the fact that we have tamed every other animal and yet we still have this tongue wagging about. Now I’m not really sure how many of the animals they had tamed in those days. I have no doubt that lions and tigers ere tamed, and that they had birds tamed such as parrots, which are mentioned during Solomon’s time.  I’m sure there was snake charmers in those days as there are today. I do wonder if by that time they had tamed whales and sharks as we do in SeaWorld’s around the country. But the truth is that we have tamed just about every kind of animal there is.

We have a tough time gaining control of our tongue and making sure that nothing evil comes out of it. Because the tongue can do so much damage as we talked about in our last lesson. It’s poison can infect a young child for the rest of their life. It can break somebody’s heart. The tongue can cause somebody to give up. The tongue can get us arrested. What other member of our body holds as much power as our tongues?
James then says something very interesting to me.  He says that with our tongue we bless God and we curse men who were made after God’s image. This is a tragedy in James’s eyes and it is in my eyes as well. I see many people who call themselves Christians coming to church and praising God one minute and then going home and having the Pastor for lunch the next minute. I hear them praying in their sewing circles and then spreading gossip all around town. I hear them helping with the church dinner and singing in the choir and when they leave church they are backbiting and complaining about their neighbor.
Our mouth should be full of edifying and uplifting words no matter where we are. If we are truly filled with His spirit then what comes out of us should be the voice of God not the voice of the devil.  James has two wonderful analogies in verses 11 and 12.  The first is that a fountain is only going to give one kind of water.  It’s either going to be sweet or it’s going to be bitter. The second is about a fig tree and the fact that it can’t bear olives. Even nature knows that each plant can only produce one thing. Why can’t we get it through our  heads that our tongues should be the same way.
When I was a sinner my tongue was full of cursing and cutting people down. I had a very quick wit and I could cast verbal darts at people faster than they could avoid them. And I didn’t care. When I got saved one of the first things that happened is that I stopped swearing. I mean completely stopped. It went from every other word to none whatsoever. The second thing that happened is that I realized I needed to change my attitude. I started counseling with my pastor after I went back to the church I grew up in and he pointed me to the Norman Vincent Peale book The Power of Positive Thinking. That book changed my life. I started speaking positive things to people instead of negative. The people in my workplace noticed a huge difference in my life. When I left there a couple years later and moved to Iowa my language was much improved. Now there have been times since then that I have fallen back into words that were not positive, especially in my family. But the swearing never came back and the cutting remarks rarely came back. God did a number on my language
I believe God wants to do this for everybody. He desires to have control of our tongue. He desires to have control of the words we say. He does not want us to speak the enemies words to people. He wants us to speak His words. And His words are always edifying and uplifting to the Saints. I referenced to a couple versus in the last session and I’ll reference them again:
Ephesians 4:29 –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I try to live my life by these two verses because they help me to think about every word that I say.  I am not always successful, but I do say the right thing more often than the wrong.
What is your language like? Are you one who brings uplifting words to everyone you meet? Or you still cursing? Are you still backbiting? Are you still gossiping? Are you still complaining and arguing?. If you are then you certainly shouldn’t be praising God with the same mouth. Get rid of those things out of your life so that blessing will come out of your mouth no matter who you’re in front of or what you are facing in life.  I guarantee you will feel much better about your life if you do!
Be blessed.
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