The Power of the Tongue

For this post, I would like to talk about a very small but significant member of our body known as the tongue.  In James 3, we find some rather intriguing information about the tongue that we need to be reminded of.  James compares the power of the tongue with the power of a bit and that of a rudder.  The bit, he says is used to tame a horse as it controls the movement of the horse’s head.  The rudder on the other hand allows the captain of the ship to control where and how the ship turns.  The tongue is just as powerful it is like a small fire that is capable to ruin a forest. If set in motion this small tongue of ours can defile our entire body.  Both the bit and the rudder can be seen as items of control, where if they were not used, the horse would be able to run wild and the ship would go off course. This is the same thing with the tongue, if not controlled our bodies or sinful nature can go haywire. The tongue is capable to do good or evil.

James 3:5-10 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 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:

The tongue has been used to burn many people in the course of its operation. As a child I remember saying a nursery rhyme-“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. This sounds good but is so far from the truth. The injury and pain from words take so much longer to heal than a broken bone. Sometimes the psychological injuries may last a lifetime.

 Proverbs 26:18-19 reminds us: Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!”  In the end the person being hurt is never laughing, because they can’t see the joke.

 James goes on to say how we are able to tame the wildest of animals, but fail miserable at taming the tongue. James says– NO MAN CAN TAME THE TONGUE. He is correct, but take note that the emphasis is on man, because through the Holy Spirit, we will be able to curb this tongue of ours.

 James goes on further in the chapter to say that not only does the tongue hurt, and deliver deadly poison, but it is also contradictory. It is used for good as well as evil. Apparently it is unable to take a stand. The tongue offers the highest praise and at the same time the lowest blow to an individual in the form of a curse. We cannot have 2 different fruits from the same tree. So in our everyday life, let us be reminded that our tongue is a force to be reckoned with, do not take it for granted. Allow the Holy Spirit to take control and govern the things you say. Use it to bless and not to curse, to uplift and exhort, not to tear down, to encourage, not discourage, to speak life not death.

 In His Service,





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