Bridle Your Tongue

James 1:26 NIV
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

It's Friday morning. You overslept, burned your finger on the stove, and couldn't find any clean underwear. It's already been a tough week, with one thing after another going wrong. On the way to work, traffic snarls slow you down even more, making you late to work. When you walk in, your boss growls at you for being late. And your desk looks like you haven't been there for weeks, with work piled impossibly high. At lunch, the regular group is sitting around the lunchroom, bad-mouthing everyone they can think of. When they start in on the boss, someone who at this point, you'd just as soon smack as look at, what comes out of your mouth? How's your witness?

Second scenario. you've decided to join an organization where you can participate in activities that benefit the community, plus gain some "status" when it comes to your profession. However, when you get to the first meeting, you're told that you will have to go through an "initiation," and as the initiation begins, the words you're told to say are in direct conflict with God's Word. What do you do?

Thinking of the first scenario, controlling our tongues is - according to God's Word - the most difficult thing for Christians to do. We can learn to overcome all sorts of other temptations, but that little sucker just gets away from us sometimes! For such a tiny piece of muscle, it has a tremendous amount of power. It can build up, and it can destroy. We use it both to praise God and to curse man, who is made in the image of God (James 3:5-10 NIV). It has been compared to a sword and a serpent (Psalm 57:4; 140:3 NIV). But it also can bring healing and be the tree of life (Proverbs 12:18; 15:4 NIV).

In Matthew 12:36-37 NIV, Jesus said, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." This is important to remember the next time you want to share some gossip or tell an off-color joke. And it's also important to remember any time we're required to make an oath or any statement which goes against God's Word. In either case, what we say reflects who we are... "...out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34 NIV)

Pay attention to what you are saying. Your speech is one of the most important parts of your witness. No matter where you are, at home, at work, at play, at church, or in any organization or group you decide to join. your tongue reveals what is in your heart.

Used with Permission