The words we speak are releasing life or death in our lives. This study is about amazing facts about words and the tongue.
James 3:1 – My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (Verse 2) For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
Plain and simple: If any person doesn’t stumble in their words, they are perfect! And they are able to “control” their whole body. Here’s what he’s saying, “If you can perfect your tongue, you can perfect your body in actions and deeds. Here are four amazing facts about the tongue.
The Tongue is Disproportionately Powerful
James 3:3 – Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. (Verse 4) Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. (Verse 5) Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
Even though the tongue is very small, it’s effect is very large – disproportionately. He gives several examples: the bit that goes in a horses’ mouth. The bit is a very small piece of metal, placed in the horse’s mouth, that controls the strength and direction of the horses’ body.
Our tongue can control our strength and our direction! People can discover all the areas they are strong in, but if they can’t control their tongue, the strength in these areas will be useless, because we won’t be able to direct our strength!
James 1:26 – If anyone among you thinks he is religious (serving God), and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. If any of us are serving God, but we don’t bridle our tongue, our service of God isn’t worth anything.
Then he uses the rudder of a ship for another example. The rudder is small in comparison to the ship or boat, but the rudder turns the whole ship. During a storm, the ship has to be faced in the right direction or it will capsize! The same thing happens to people when they go through a storm because of their tongue! Even in good times, without a storm, if the tongue is not going in the right direction, we could end up capsized on the rocks.
Then James uses a little spark that starts a huge forest fire. The tongue can set off a whole world of events, if not controlled.
The Tongue Is Inherently Evil
James 3:6 – And the tongue is a fie, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell. (Verse 8) But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Inherently evil – we were born with an evil tongue. No one has to teach their children to be “rude.” We have to teach them to be polite and kind. The default setting on the tongue is to destroy. Unless we change how we speak, we will do more harm than good.
The Tongue Is Humanly Untamable
James 3:7, 8 – For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. (Verse 8) But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
No human, mankind, person, can tame the tongue. That’s not good news. It is not humanly tameable, but it is “Divinely” tamable! The One who made it can tame it. The One who wrote our owners manual can fix it!
Look what happened when Moses talked to God: Exodus 4:10 – Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Verse 11) So the LORD, said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? (Verse 12) “Now, therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
Think about this: When the Father sent the Holy Spirit, the first thing that the Holy Spirit did when He entered those people was “Change their tongues!”
The only way we can change our tongue is to submit our tongue to the Holy Spirit! And isn’t it amazing that so much controversy surrounds this “Gift” of the Holy Spirit? So who do you think brought the controversy? The Bible says, “The tongue is set on fire by hell itself!” Hell wants to occupy our mouth!
Most believers don’t know that Satan cannot hurt us, true believers. What he’s trying to do is to get us to turn our mouth against ourselves and kill ourselves! Every time we speak, we are either agreeing with life and God or death and Satan! That’s why God’s Word says, “Life and death is in the power of the tongue.”
The Tongue Is Contrastingly Productive
James 1:9-12 0 With it we bless God and Father, and with it, we curse men, who have been made in the similitude (likeness) of God. (Verse 10) Out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing. My brethren these things ought not be so. (Verse 11) Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? (Verse 12) Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.
The tongue can produce good and bad. Nature can’t even do what the tongue can do. Either fresh water is going to come out of a spring or it’s going to be undrinkable. He’s saying, “Be one or the other.” The tongue can do a lot of damage, but it can also do a lot of good.l The tongue can curse but it also can bless. We can bless our finances; we can bless the marriage; we can bless our business, and we can bless other people with our tongue. The tongue can produce good fruit.
We choose the words we use, choose life!