Proverbs 10.19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. (NKJV)
Whatever is in a person’s heart comes out of his mouth. It is generally true, that a person who always has to be the one talking; always the one being heard; always the one who’s opinion must be known; always the one drawing attention to themselves… typically is going to be a person of lesser, or little, spiritual maturity.
Wow, that’s a pretty tough statement and even now I can anticipate the responses… “I talk a lot and have an opinion on everything, and I’m a VERY spiritually mature person”. Uh-huh.
Now lest I play the hypocrite, I will admit, as a teacher, and having a very extroverted personality, this is a discipline that I have to diligently work on every day. Let’s look at some Scripture and find out the benefit of being a person of “few words”.
- James 3.6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
- James 3.8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Only the tongue controlled by the Holy Spirit can speak words of life and encouragement. How many times has your mouth got you in trouble? Now compare that to the number times your mouth got you in trouble WHEN you were praying, encouraging or blessing someone?
How many times has your mouth got your in trouble when you WEREN’T talking? Starting to get the point?
- James 3.2-5 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. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 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. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
Controlling the tongue is a very large part of controlling our whole life. Just the like the tiny rudder of a ship, or the bridle on a horse, or the steering wheel of a vehicle… our tongue is the “steering” control of our daily life. It can be a Spirit-controlled instrument of blessing and Godliness; or a “self” controlled weapon of ruin.
- Proverbs 10.19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
- Ecc 5.7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
- Ecc 5.3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
The more we talk, the greater chance we have of using our tongue for sin. An old proverb says:
Keep your mouth shut, and be thought a fool;
Open it, and remove all doubt.
Godliness is talked about in terms of quietness and stillness:
- Ps 46.10 Be still, and know that I am God;
- Ps 4.4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
- Exo 14.13 …Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.
- Hab 2.20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
- Ps 145.5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.
The scripture gives us foolproof instructions on how to never sin with our tongue.
- Psalm 119:172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.
- Psalm 71.24 My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long;
- Job 27.4 My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit.
- Job 6.24 “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
Times when we should speak:
- When led by the Spirit (Rom 8.14)
- When it edifies (Eph 4.29)
- When it serves a Godly purpose (2 Tim 3.16)
- Only when necessary (Prov 10.19)
- When the conversation is NOT about foolish or worthless things (Tit 3.9)
- Only when it is about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.(Phil 4.8)
Controlling our mouth is a very key issue in our Christian growth. Learn to measure your words carefully. Think before you speak. Pray before you speak. Practice the discipline of not always having to have your opinion heard; or get your comments in; or get the last word every time.
The world is full of words and talk. Our silence can be profitable, useful and Godly.
- Prov 21.23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue; Keeps his soul from troubles.
- James 1.26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
Father, help me today to shut up. I know that’s kind of blunt, but that’s what I need. Let me learn to speak under the Spirit’s control; it may be about work, or daily tasks or everyday chores… help me to make all of my words pleasing to Your ears no matter what the circumstance may be. Help me to wake up tomorrow and start new again. Amen.
Contemplation: When you get yourself in trouble with people, what percentage of the time is it because of running your mouth? Is there anytime that is appropriate to gossip, speak poorly of someone or complain? If yes, inform God so He can let the rest of us know.
Application: The tongue is truly a mighty power. You have the choice to use it for great blessing, or great sorrow.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?