Thursday, June 23, 2016

Taming the Tongue

Once again, reports of terrible heat- and wind-driven fires in the Southwest have filled the news. The devastation is far-reaching.

Have you ever built a fire? What happens when you blow on the tiny spark? It quickly grows and ignites the kindling.

Imagine the hot breath of the Santa Ana winds catching a spark in that hot, arid landscape and fanning it into a raging inferno. That is the picture the Apostle James paints in words:

"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. People can tame all kinds of animals....but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison....Blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth....That is not right!" James 3:6-10, NLT).

James also compares the tongue to a horse's bridle and to the rudder of a ship. He writes that we can use a bridle to make a horse obey us, and with a small rudder, the pilot of a large ship can control its movements. But the tongue, even though it is a tiny member of the body, is uncontrollable, like the tiny spark that can cause a raging forest fire.

What, then, can we do to resolve such a fearsome dilemma?

We must allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our tongue. Only He can tame it and bring it under control. Only then can we fulfill the advice of the wise one who penned the Proverbs:

Courtesy Google

Like water that quenches fire, when the Holy Spirit controls our tongue, we can answer with a gentle response that puts out the anger that can so easily erupt into temper,

While growing up, my godly grandmother suffered harsh treatment at the hands of her father. When she left home to become a missionary, he disowned and disinherited her. For many years, she was not allowed to visit her family home. Yet, she never talked about any of the details. When I was writing the story of her life in my book, Frontiers of Faith, I asked her why. She said,

"What you talk about gets into your spirit." 

She had learned to allow the Holy Spirit to control her tongue.

I love this quote I found on the Internet:

"Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out." 

Sounds like good advice.

Who controls your tongue?

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