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Taming the Tongue

James 3:7–8 (ESV) … “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

We tame sea creatures, air creatures, land creatures, and creeping things, but we cannot tame our tongues. We control big things but we cannot control a little thing (although this little thing, the tongue, is in a cage having two doors, the teeth and the mouth). The reason we cannot tame the tongue is this: behind the tongue is our base nature and behind our base nature are all the forces of the underworld, headed up by Satan.

Although we in ourselves cannot control our tongues, the Holy Spirit within us can. When our lives are submitted to Him, He gives us mastery over our tongues.[1]

The Bible’s accurate picture of the tongue’s destructive potential offers us no excuse for acquiescing to the tongue’s evil potential … (Eph. 4:29) “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

By committing our tongues to the power of God, we can see them used to build up and strengthen others rather than to tear them down.[2]

[1] Gingrich, R. E. (2005). The Book of James (p. 20). Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing.

[2] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 304). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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