Shut up! Is that too harsh? I think it might be appropriate for some of the stuff that flows so freely across the thumbs of the most prolific social media "influencers" and shock jocks across our nation.
Our words can bite, can’t they? James 3:2 says that “if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” Look closely at what he says ... it starts with our mouths (or our thumbs as we type away on our phones)! From there, we can begin to grow and mature in EVERY way. What we say steers the direction of our lives. We tend to move in the direction of our words.
Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about the few buddies that you’ve known for a while and you joke around with each other from time to time. Some of that is the spice of life (unless the heart behind it is wrong). But today, I want to talk about this steering wheel of life ... the tongue.
Here’s the deal, the average American will have 30 conversations per day. In one year, you could fill 53 books that are 1,000 pages long. You’re going to spend 1/5 of your life talking!!
If you want to know where you’re headed, look at some of the recent conversations you’ve had with others and think about the self-talk you’ve had with yourself. Our words can both damage and destroy our life because that's what has hold of life's steering wheel. If you're always putting yourself down you need to stop listening to yourself and start preaching to yourself the positive messages and words of affirmation that God has for you.
James 3:5-6 explains the power of our words. “The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. And the tongue is a flame of fire.” Your words will reveal what is really in your heart. And even a seemingly small careless word can start a fire that becomes a raging argument inferno.
Not too long ago in 2018, California experienced its worst fire season in history. Nearly two million acres were burned across our great state. It started in February, and the last fire was put out in November. You know how it started? One spark!
Some of the arguments you’ve gotten into were caused by one spark. Only you can control the sparks that come out of your mouth. Careless words can destroy an entire life. Don’t become a verbal arsonist. If you don't work on it, it's going to ruin all you have!
I imagine that many of you have mastered the problem of cussing, but perhaps you haven't mastered the problem of cutting others down. In James 3:10, James talks about how out of the same mouth come both praises and curses. This shouldn't be the case. I want to challenge you today, to really focus on taming your tongue. What are your words revealing about you?
A good question to ask yourself is what is the source of the things that come out of your mouth? At the end of the day, as Jesus said, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks..." Luke 6:45. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Sometimes people will say, "I don't know why I said that, that's not like me." Actually, it's exactly like you, because it has been bubbling up inside you for a long time. If a loose tongue is a problem for you the reality is your heart is not healthy.
You need to deal with the heart issue. Get to the root of the problem and root it out. Is it anger, bitterness, envy, hurt, or anything else? Whatever it might be it will not get better until you have a change of heart. Thankfully, God specializes in heart transplants, "And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart" Ezekiel 36:26. Give your heart to Jesus Christ and watch him take the reins of your tongue and steer it toward peace.