Words of Destruction

February 18, 2013

James 1:26
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Words of Destruction

Perhaps no other author in the Bible addresses the tongue quite like James does. He sees in this small member of the body, the ability not only to do great good, but also great harm. In this scripture he basically says, “it doesn’t matter how religious or spiritual you think you are, if you don’t have control of your tongue and what comes out of your mouth, your religion is worthless.”
That word worthless means vain, useless, devoid of force, truth, success and result. In other words, if you want your words to be effective and powerful, you can’t spout off everything the pops into your head or erupts out of your emotion. It is a member that needs self-control.
James addresses the tongue further in James 3:22-12.
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
A tongue left to its own devices can be a very destructive member. It is like putting a sharp sword in the hand of a man that has no regard for life and has no conscience as to who he wounds and kills. It is a primary communicator of what is in a man’s heart, for the Word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The tongue is a two edged sword that can cut on one side, but can bring healing from the other. Proverbs 18:21, the Living Translations says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
I have seen examples in life where people could be so Christian in their words of praise and exhortation, they could teach and preach the Word, but if you dare offend them, out of that same mouth could come venom and curses that would send you to hell. You see it is usually in our offenses that the control of our tongue is best tested. Can we still speak life when we have been wounded or threatened? When the Holy Spirit still has control of our tongue, even in the most adverse circumstances then we’ll know that it is an instrument of life and not of death and God has the reigns.


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