With the Tongue
James 3:2-10 ESV
Psalm 64:7-8 and 10 ESV
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NLT
Scripture has a lot to say about the human tongue and it seems like not much of it is good. Scripture contains warning after warning about the tongue. However, the tongue is also used for great good.
In James 3:2-10 he wrote, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
According to James, the human tongue cannot be tamed and it is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” He doesn’t have very much good to say about the tongue…only that when we are uncareful, it can be used to curse people.
Notice that he also says near the end of this portion of scripture that it can be used to bless as well.
Even though young David who would be King of Israel was pursued by King Saul and his armies for years, David chose to use his pin and his tongue to bless God. David chose to use his tongue for good. David chose to speak of what God could do with the tongue!
In Psalm 64:7-8 David wrote, “But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly. They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads.”
David ends Psalm 64:10 with, “Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him!Let all the upright in heart exult!”
Even though David was being relentlessly pursued, he chose to see his cup as half full. He knew God was his refuge. He knew when we look to God we will be made upright and in His presence we will be exalted in God.
The Apostle Paul was also aware of the damage that can be done by the tongue. He warned the church at Ephesus not to allow the tongue to be used for evil. In Ephesians 4:29 Paul wrote, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Like David, Paul had been put to the test (as we all often are). Paul knew what it was like to be tested and persecuted. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Paul tells us some of the details about what he had faced on his journey with Jesus:
“I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
Yet, even though he was constantly pursed by the Romans and even by his own people the Jews, he chose to use his tongue to continue to spread the good news about Jesus.
Paul was pursued to the point of being imprisoned at the end of his life, he fought with every last breath to use his tongue to tell his people, the Jews and the Gentiles about the love of Jesus.
In Paul’s final words to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:11-14) he told the church, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss. All of God’s people here send you their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Paul used his pin and his tongue to remind the church to be filled with joy! He wanted them to encourage one another. He asked them to live in peace and harmony in God’s love.
The way I see it, we have a choice.
We all face trials of various kinds every day.
We cannot change the trial, but we can change how we respond to it. We can turn to God and sit in His presence, being blessed, or we can weep and complain.
I like to think of it as choosing what blesses. That doesn’t mean we are happy all the time, but it does mean that when day is done we bless God and give thanks.
We receive God’s peace.
We receive God’s grace through Jesus.
We ask God to surround us with Angels as we sleep and we rest in the arms of Jesus.
Regardless of what you’ve faced, YOU choose grace and peace.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Choose Grace and Peace
Just before you go to sleep, ask God to guard you with His Angels. Let God fill you with grace and peace. And bless God with your tongue so it will be used for good!
In God, Deborah