The Tongue

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.” James 3:1-2

When my first grade teacher, Miss Hamm, sent home my first report card, she noted, “Gary enjoys talking in class with his many new friends, while I am teaching. He needs to learn to pay attention.” My Mom got the message. My Dad made the point. It was a short learning curve.  

The Tongue is a powerful tool for good or a weapon for evil depending on the will, and the character of the person doing the talking. Talk is driven by your tongue. Prayer is driven by your heart. If you don’t develop a heart for prayer, your unbridled talk will spew out of your big mouth. When you choose to be prayerless, you will step on your tongue, and stumble into error. This only happens…EVERY TIME!

Scripture places a heavy responsibility upon all who are called to teach, and warns them to bridle their tongues.  When you prayerfully yield your will to The Father, your tongue will be harnessed for His personal use, not yours.

Jesus prayed to yield His will to The Father’s will. Before He spoke for Him, Jesus spoke to The Father. False teachers are in love with the sound of their own voice, and breathe their own ether. The most dangerous place in the world is between them and a microphone. The last place you will find them is in the prayer closet. They love the spotlight.

Jesus was called Master, by His disciples. It was not an honorary title, but a necessary bridle. They referred to His authority and jurisdiction over their lives. The Master intended to control the tongues of His discples, by empowering them to use their tongues for the honor and glory of The Father. He intends to exercise the same control over yours.

“Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.” James 3:3

To avoid accumulative error, ancient mariners used the rudder of their ships to make steady course corrections. The proper use of the rudder insured their ship would arrive safely at their destination. Huge ships and precious cargos were in danger when the rudder was impaired or ignored.  A dysfunctional rudder meant a navigational error could not be corrected. Drifting farther and farther of course, the ship could reach a point of no return, crashing upon the rocks of a distant shore, far away from the pilot’s intended destination.  The rudder and your tongue share the same reputation for having the power to guide or collide.

“Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.” James 3:4

The Tongue has the capacity to illuminate or incinerate. When you race towards a confrontation with an annoying person or enter into a conversation about an absent person, your prayerless communication will shed for more heat than light. When you fail to pray before you speak, you are setting in motion a scorched earth policy that was birthed in hell, not in Heaven.

“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6

Note to Self: A bridle, rudder and spark have one thing in common. Though relatively small, they all have the capacity to make a great impact for good or evil. So does your tongue. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!