Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 26, 2021

Vertical Stabilizer

“Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So, also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”  (James 3:4-5, ESV)

Years ago, I was in a position that caused me a great deal of stress.  I had prayed for this job for over a year. This one provided me with a decent income and benefits but most importantly flexibility for my boys’ schedule while they were in school.  I started out with a lot of joy but as time went on that diminished.  There were tons of things I wanted to express my opinion about. Lots of things I didn’t like. There were days I would go into the bathroom stall and cry/pray for wisdom.  I wanted to give some people a piece of my mind and walk out.

However, when I held my tongue and resisted the urge to speak – I found myself ruminating less about the problems.  Instead of replaying it in my mind and trying to work it out in my head what I wanted to say,  I held my tongue and my mind became clearer. I was able to hear the Holy Spirit guiding me to what the next step should be.  Most times, the next step He was wanting me to take had nothing to do with the situation that was bothering me.  Instead, He was gently nudging me to trust Him with that issue and take the next step in a matter He wanted me to focus on.

Controlling my tongue allowed opportunities for growth (promotions) on that job.

Self-control is what James is trying to teach us when he compares a tongue to the rudder of a ship. The tongue, like the rudder steers the direction of a person’s life.  The tongue is small but that does not mean it is weak.

A rudder (controlled by the helm) refers to the part of a vertical stabilizer which guides the ship either right or left – allowing it to have directional stability.

Some people have no hand on the helm, or the rudder.  Therefore, saying whatever comes into their mind.  Others allow their tongue to speak from their emotions.  If we’re honest, we all have done it.  But growth (self-control) requires learning to resist that urge. Every thought doesn’t have to be shared.

James is encouraging us to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us to be in control of the helm and guide our tongues to give us the directional stability we need.

Who is at the helm of your ship?

“Father help us to be women of self-control that are led by the Holy Spirit. We realize our mouths can block our blessings.  Help us to pray before we speak.”

For His Glory


Laura Holmes (
TRBC Women’s Life

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