Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 1, 2020

Forked Tongue

“…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”   James 3:8-10

That tiny little muscle in our mouth—how powerful it is. In the New Testament, James compares the tongue to a horse’s bit and a ship’s rudder. What awesome metaphors to visualize its formidable control. Oh, but controlling it is a whole other matter.

As a Christian, I love to praise the Lord with songs and hymns. I lift up my family and friends daily in prayer, professing my hopes but yielding to His will. When I spend time in God’s Word, amazed by how He can speak to me afresh through verses I’ve read time and time again, I give Him thanks for conviction and edification. And I use my written words in an effort to glorify the Lord—not really a tongue-initiated exercise, per se, but the keyboard certainly becomes a tool of my tongue.

Now, before you start rolling your eyes thinking how holier-than-thou I must think I am, keep reading.

This same lil’ tongue of mine lashes out at those I love in frustration and impatience, causing pain not easily assuaged. An unsuspecting customer service person on the other end of the phone line can be the recipient of angry, accusatory words. And, as hard as I try to avoid talking about politics or the current cultural upheaval, when engagement in these topics occurs, my tongue takes on a whole life of its own, spewing words of disgust and hatred. In fact, in these scenarios (and many others, believe you me), should a stranger hear the words flowing from my tongue, “Christ-follower” would probably not be the first label they’d mentally stick on me.

As James writes, no human being can tame the tongue. It is too powerful. And our fallen state—our sin nature—has steeped our tongue with poison, like tea colors every water molecule in a mug. Once surrendered to Jesus, we do use our tongues to give glory to God. It’s a joy and our desire. But, just like the Apostle Paul talked about doing what he doesn’t want to do because of the constant battle with the flesh (Romans 7:15-20), we will struggle with this little muscle as long as it’s in our fallen body.

Thankfully, we’re not in this battle alone. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit to help us tame our tongue. By yielding to Him, He will take control, placing a guard over our mouth when we ask Him to (Psalm 141:3). The more we surrender to the Holy Spirit, the less power our flesh has…and the “fruitier” our lives—and words—become (Galatians 5:2-23).

“Lord, set a guard over my mouth and keep a watch over my lips, so I don’t use my tongue to praise You one minute and curse those You love another.”


For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: