Tongue Tricks – James 3

tongue tricks - Taming of the Tongue - James 3

I never thought about it much, but for some strange reason I’ve discovered that there are many people out there with very talented tongues. Now, I can curl my tongue – a talent that some people can’t do. But it turns out that there are many other tricks people can do with their tongues. There’s the “back curl”, the “3-leaf clover”, the “wave”, and even the “happy face.” Some people have muscles in their tongues that I was not blessed with – or they have way too much time on their hands and sit around practicing this all day.

Todays reading of chapter 3 of the book of James has some other tricks that our tongues can perform:

2 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. 3 We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.

Wow – anyone else convicted, or is it just me? I was particularly challenged by this passage in the book of James chapter 3.

As a worship leader, I was especially drawn to verses 9 and 10. How can I worship Him on Sunday mornings and turn around and say something um…less than edifying to someone whom He created.

James, in his straight-to-the-point fashion, brings it: “This is not right!”

Our tongues have power. Take a look at what Proverbs 18:21 says:

21The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Does what you say bring life? Or – are you like I am sometimes where it’s much easier to talk behind someone’s back. Perhaps it even feels like you need to tear someone down to make yourself look better.

Like a tiny rudder on a huge ship, our tongues have the power to send our lives plunging to the depths in life if we’re not careful. It’s far better to use our tongues to affirm people and find ways to build them up. I confess, that’s not always my first reaction.

Lord, you know my heart – and you know what sometimes comes out of my mouth that came from my heart. Forgive me of how I can sometimes pierce people’s hearts with my razor sharp tongue – sometimes faster than I realize. I give You my tongue, Lord. Help me to always use it to bring life.


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