(James 3:2) – We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. (NKJV)
We ALL stumble in many ways. Some won’t admit it, either to themselves or to others. It doesn’t matter. We ALL stumble, period.
Some actually believe they don’t, but they do. Some people stumble alot more than others. Do you want to QUIT stumbling? Notice what James says it takes to be a “perfect”… in other words, what does it take to quit stumbling? Answer: control your tongue. He then goes on to say to say that the one who is faultless in speech, keeps his whole body in check. Why does he say that?
We get a clue in the verses that follow when we are reminded that a small bit controls a powerful horse, or a relatively tiny rudder steers a massive ship. The principle is that tongue is VERY powerful and we do well to understand it’s influence in our life.
Who can deny that our tongue steers our daily life, our relationships, our hearts? Whether speaking blessing or lies, criticism or encouragement, vulgarity or goodness, what rolls off our tongue exposes what is in our heart and shapes our life. What is in our heart, is what our life is all about.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (NKJV)
Many people fool themselves and excuse what comes out of their mouth, claiming that regardless of their words, they really are a good person. They deceive themselves by believing that what they speak is not a representation of what their true character is. We often think we can say one thing, but be a different type of person.
- If you speak words of gossip, then you are a gossip and want others to suffer ill or embarrassment
- If you lie, you are a liar, don’t pretend otherwise
- If you are critical and pessimistic, then you are a negative person who drags down others for your own personal reasons
- If you use foul and vulgar language, then you have a foul and vulgar heart
No matter how much we try to tap dance around, make excuses, whitewash or fool people, the proof is on our tongue. You ARE the kind of person your mouth says you are.
The only way to change your mouth is to change your heart and mind. The only way to change your heart and mind is to ask God’s forgiveness, ask Him to change you, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind daily in God’s Word and prayer. Sorry, there are not any secret tricks or gimmicks.
Garbage-comes-out because there is garbage-within
We all stumble, which means we all need to work on our tongue, which means we all have work to do on our heart. Often the affect works both ways: lack of self control in our speech cultivates sin in our heart. So it’s a case of garbage-in and garbage-out, as well as garbage-comes-out because there is garbage-within.
Control your tongue, control stumbling. Change your heart, your tongue changes with it. It all works hand in hand and is one of the most practical exercises in Christian living.
What are your questions about self control, taming the tongue, and transforming your heart?
Lord God, help us to control our tongue; help us to change our heart so that what comes out of our mouth reveals righteousness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- 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?