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Question: How Do We Control the Tongue?

The tongue is a powerful muscle in the human body, and spiritually speaking, the tongue has the power of life or death. Prov. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Our words have power – they can build up or they can tear down. We’ve all heard the saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, that’s not true. Words hurt.

Consider the words of Paul in Eph. 4:29-32. With our words, we can crush someone’s spirit, or we can ruin someone’s hope, or we can make someone believe they are less than what God made them to be. Our tongue can do unbelievable damage. On the flip side, we can build someone up, or help them believe in themselves, or inspire them, or encourage them with our words. Our words can bring life to people.

So, surrender your tongue to God. Why? Because God says you can’t tame it on your own. We can confidently say that words matter to God. James 3 has a lot to say about the tongue – how the tongue can be used for good and evil. In v. 8, James says it’s an “unruly evil.” It’s a tireless evil. The tongue doesn’t get tired. We can’t do this with our own strength and our own power. The good news? The one who made the tongue can tame the tongue. Surrender your tongue to God. May the prayer of David be our own: “Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).

Words are like toothpaste. Once words come out, they are out there. You can’t take them back or put them back in. And, if you’re like me, there are words that I have said, that if given the opportunity to go back, I would leave unsaid. Think of all the words we say, write, type and text, and remember – our words have serious spiritual implications in our life.

How serious? Our words have the power to determine our eternal fate. Jesus – after teaching that our words reveal our hearts – says in Matt. 12:36-37, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” We must choose our words very carefully, knowing that we will have to give an answer for them in judgment.

Remember that words matter to God. Never forget the power of speech. So, do our words bless, encourage and praise others? Col. 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know you ought to answer each one.”

-- Steven Matthews


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