“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Jesus, Matthew 15:17-19).
What comes out of our mouths is often a mirror of what is inside our hearts. Our speech reveals much the worth of treasures stored in our hearts. The word ‘tongue’ is mentioned ninety three times in the Bible, often referring to its destructive power.
The lash of the tongue (Job 5:21).
Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty (Job 15:5).
Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue (Job 20:12).
A deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
Their tongue is a deadly arrow (Jeremiah 9:8).
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell (James 3:6).
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9,10).
Poisoned words that spring from the depths of a bitter heart can wreck lives and relationships. We must develop and exercise self-control through daily dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit.
James says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
Can we say with the psalmist, “His praise was on my tongue” (Psalm 66:17), “My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long” (Psalm 71:24), or “May my tongue sing of your word” (Psalm 119:172)?
Solomon said, “The tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18) and “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4).
Can we say with Samuel, “His word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2)?
The words of Peter hold good advice for us today: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10).
Apart from God, self-discipline in our tongue is impossible. But “when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace,…self-control” (Galatians 5:22, TLB).
A TIME TO BE SILENT, AND A TIME TO SPEAK
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