The use of our tongue is a very powerful tool in our lives. Our tongue may be used helpfully for the glory of God and the blessing of others and at the same time may be misused bringing sorrow and tears to others, and in the process hindering the testimony of the Lord. (Text James 3:1-12)
What is Tongue? It is the soft part in the mouth that moves around, used for tasting, swallowing, speaking, etc.
James shows us very pointedly that the tongue of a Christian is the indicator of that Christian spiritual health. Our speech reveals what kind of a Christian we are. To emphasise this fact, James uses three pairs of illustrations to show the power of the tongue
- The Tongue has the power to direct: In verses 3 and 4, we have the illustration of the bit and the rudder. Our words can direct others into the right or the wrong path. Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. We need to beware of the words we say, it could change the course of a life and lead it to destruction or the right may direct someone out of sin to salvation.
- The Tongue has the power to destroy: Verses 5-8 emphasise the fact that the tongue is a small member of the body but it can cause great destruction. What the tongue says comes from the heart. (Matt.12:34-35). A tiny spark can set a whole forest on fire, the tongue is like a small flame. Proverbs 16:27 says “An evil tongue can also spread poison, on the other hand, a spiritual tongue is a medicine ( Proverbs 12:18), it will heal and not hurt.
- The Tongue has power to delight: Verses 9-12 illustrates of the fountain or spring. Spring can’t produce both fresh and saltwater at the same time. In the same way, the tongue cannot speak blessing and cursing (Proverbs 18:4). A tree cannot bear two kinds of fruits.
TYPES OF TONGUES
- The Controlled Tongue: Those with this speech pattern think before speaking, they know when silence is best and give wise advice. (Proverbs 10:19, 11:12).
- The Caring Tongue: Those with this speech pattern speak truthfully while seeking to encourage. (Proverbs 10:32, 12:18)
- The Conniving Tongue: Those with this speech pattern are filled with wrong motives, gossip, slander, and a desire to twist the truth. (Proverbs 6:12-14, 26:20-28)
- The Careless Tongue: Those with this speech pattern are filled with lies, curses, quick-tempered words which can lead to rebellion and destruction. (Proverbs 10:18, 25:23)
THE WRONG USE OF THE TONGUE
- Blaming God when tempted to do wrong (James 1:13-14). God never tempts us to sin, temptation arises when a man is lured away by his lust.
- Speaking hypocritically (James 1:26). It is easy to do this, and what a terrible statement about this very thing. (Titus 1:16)
- Expressing discrimination between rich and poor fellow believers (James 2:1-4) Discrimination between people’s colour, background, race, and status in life can be thoroughly un-Christian.
- Speaking unsympathetically to those in need (James 2:15- 16). With so much poverty in our world, we need to search our hearts.
- Boasting and flattering: Thus causing a destructive fire (James 13: 5) Just one word can cause a family upset or division in a church. (James 3:14).
- Grumbling against each other (James 4:12). Each of us will have to answer for himself to God, so stop criticizing one another.
- Swearing or Blaspheming (James 5:12). Many non-Christians are careless with their words, even taking the Lord’s name in vain. We as believers must be careful how we use the name of our God. (1Peter 3:10)
THE RIGHT USE OF THE TONGUE
- To Praise God (James 1:5-6). We use our tongue to praise our Heavenly Father and we should be doing this every day.
- To pray to God:
- For wisdom (James 1:5-6)
- For help for those in trouble (James 5:13-16)
- For healing (James 5:14-15)
- For large requests (James 5:17-18)
- For backsliders to be restored (James 5:19-20)
- To sing to the Lord (James 5:13)
- To witness for the Lord (Psalm 107:2, Acts 1:8)
We have seen that our tongue can be used in many ways either good or bad. How can we control our tongue as Christian youth? Only by the help of the Holy Spirit, have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to take control of your tongue? If not ask Him to take control of your tongue as a growing youth in Christ and He will be your guide in all you say. In Romans 6: 13, we are exhorted to offer the whole parts of our body to God as instruments of righteousness. May the Almighty God bless you all. Amen
Author : Dcns. Mabel Ofosuhene