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Taming the Tongue

(The following is the November 5 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read James 3 and pay close attention to verses 1-12.)

Do you have difficulty occasionally controlling your tongue? If so, James 3:1-12 is a passage you should read regularly. It reminds us that the tongue is a small body part, yet it can significantly impact for good or bad. Taming the tongue is harder than taming animals, and the effort to do so is a lifelong process for many, including Christians.

The heart of the passage is verses 9-12: “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.”

We exist to glorify God, and we can’t do that if we allow unholy speech to spew from our mouths. Consider a few of the ways we misuse our tongues:

  • Reacting in anger at the actions of others;

  • Criticizing those who disagree with us on issues, in person and on social media;

  • Expressing disappointment with those who don’t meet our expectations;

  • Blending in with a lost world by telling crude jokes or using curse words;

  • Finding fault with others in our family, church, work, etc., instead of building up one another.

Rather than allowing your tongue to be a fire that destroys (v. 6), seek the Holy Spirit’s power to control your tongue daily so that it becomes a fountain of righteousness that glorifies God and builds up others.

Next Step:

Confess to God recent times when you failed to control your tongue. Do you need to confess to someone you hurt and ask for forgiveness?

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