Setting Your Course
If you’ve ever read the book of James, you know that chapter 3 has a lot to say about the tongue. Today, we’ll take a look at that chapter and see what lessons it has for us.
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. James 3:2 (KJV)
The word perfect in the King James is usually better translated mature. It states that if we don’t offend in word, or by our words, we are mature. One way to do this is to keep putting God’s Word in us so His Word is the main thing coming out of us. As we speak God’s Word, we can bridle, or control, our whole body, speaking life instead of death, blessing rather than cursing, and healing in place of sickness.
Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. James 3:3-4 (KJV)
This passage speaks of small bits in horses’mouths and tiny rudders on ships that can steer and determine the direction of large objects. In the same direction, our tongues- by the words we speak- set the course of our lives. We truly have the choice to speak life or death; blessing or cursing. If you don’t like the way your life is going, start to redirect it by changing what you say. Speaking God’s Word carries amazing power because you are literally saying the same thing as God. Where there is hate, speak love. Where there is strife and turmoil, speak peace. The life you live is largely determined by your tongue.
A ship in the midst of a storm is guided to calm waters by the captain’s skillful manuevering of the rudder. You too can go through life’s storms victoriously by choosing to consistently speak what God’s Word says instead of what you see or feel.
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. James 3:5-6 (KJV)
Don’t allow the devil to use your tongue to burn up what God has given you. Use your tongue to your advantage, and not to give the enemy any ground. Begin to speak the Word and pray in the Holy Ghost (also called tongues of fire) to come against the devil and bind up his destructive plans, rather than destroy the good in your life. And we must be careful not to use our tongue to defile ourselves. Wrong words can defile our bodies, making us sick. Wrong words spoken against Christian brothers and sisters can defile the fellowship among us.
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. James 3:7-8 (KJV)
The tongue cannot be tamed by natural means. Man on his own cannot conquer the destructive nature of his tongue. However, when we involve the Holy Spirit, it can be done. It can be controlled by praying in tongues, speaking God’s Word, and by following the wisdom of God.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. James 3:9-12 (KJV)
Speaking both blessing and cursing out of the same mouth reveals a double-minded person. When we consistently speak well of others, of God, of ourselves, we agree with the Word and we release the best possible outcome. On the other hand, a double-minded person is unstable and will not receive anything from God (James 1:8).
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. James 3:13-18 (KJV)
With God’s wisdom, we can speak the right words, thus walking in meekness and not in strife. With His wisdom, we can walk in peace one with another, overcoming envy, strife, confusion and every evil work. As we speak by God’s wisdom, we will walk in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy and the fruit of the Spirit. The tongue is small in size, but it is huge in what it can accomplish. Good words will produce good things in our lives, so we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit to maintain control of our tongues in order to live the good life.