Going back to the words of James now, Let’s look at verses 7-8:
“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
James is very clear here that – while it is in man’s capacity to dominate or control all forms of life in one way or another – the tongue is extremely difficult to fully break. In fact, he says no man can tame it!
I’m sure each of us can relate to endless situations in which we knew better than to add our own two cents, but just had to speak up. We have to be heard. We have to say our peace. We often live to regret it too, don’t we?
No man can fully control his tongue, but it can be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit! God alone can tame that little member, that world of iniquity set ablaze by the fire of hell!
We just have to let Him.
That uncontrolled tongue is, as James says, an unruly evil full of deadly poison! Now, I want you to picture something:
I want you to imagine that your tongue was a deadly viper or a rattlesnake. Every time you open your mouth – unless you were to restrain it with the help of the Lord – it would lash out, biting at whomever was close to you. If that were the case, would you be more careful about when and how you opened your mouth? Would you be more thoughtful about what you said around your loved ones, your family knowing it could bite them with deadly poison?
Poison, you see, is a very deceptive thing. It works on the inside, often slowly, invisibly for a while. Ultimately though it can do great damage.
Would you knowingly, willingly unleash a deadly snake on your children or your grandchildren?
That’s the image James is conveying here. Our mouths, our tongues, can inflict great damage with lasting consequences. We must be careful, and we must rely on the spirit of the Lord to assist us. We absolutely cannot do it alone!
Wild animals can be tamed; a deadly fire can be controlled, but only God can tame the tongue!
“The Power of the Tongue” continues next time…
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