The tongue is a fire.

James 3

The tongue is the hardest part of the body to tame. By the use of our tongues, we can create words that will either glorify God or completely defy Him. We’ve learned since we were little that we can’t put words back into our mouths once we’ve said them (or un-type them once they’ve been typed, for that matter). They can be something we can regret for the rest of our lives, even sever relationships with others. But if we choose to use them wisely, they can help others, and increase the kingdom of God! 

Something that we see so much now, especially with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, is people gossiping (even if it’s indirect), being overly sarcastic to the point that it’s hurtful-which is especially hard to tell when it’s not face-to-face, using bad language, and inappropriate jokes. These things are everywhere. God says to stop this.

Colossians 4:6 says: 

Let your speech always be seasoned with grace, seasoned with salt…”

 When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher demonstrated this by using toothpaste. I thought this was really cool, and it’s had an impact on me since then. I can always picture her squirting the toothpaste out of the tube, and then saying, “Ok, now try to put all of the toothpaste back in the tube!” Of course, none of us could get even half of it back inside-it just won’t work. And it can make a mess if we’re not careful! She was trying to teach us from an early age that we need to think before we speak, because words can do a lot of damage if we’re not being cautious.

Words, if not used gracefully, can be hurtful to other people and to God because it means we’re straying from his commands.

Once we start these things, it can be hard to stop, and it can influence others to do the same thing. If they (even brothers and sisters in Christ) see Christians doing it, how are they supposed to know it’s wrong? How are we being different if we, too, involve ourselves in these practices?

James 3:5-6

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

What God tells us we are to do with our tongues is be lights of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). We are to use our speech to glorify Him! How are gossiping, bad language, and “crude joking” glorifying God in any way? We can’t do both; we can’t be fence-riders. We shouldn’t even want to listen to or read these things.

James 3:9-12

9With it [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. 

If we are truly acting like Christians, we will not “bear” these things, such as the fig tree bearing olives. They simply don’t fit together!

1Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Not only are we to avoid doing evil, but also appearing as if we are doing evil. If we apply this verse to the tongue, it means not even participating in activities that would involve such things, or associating with people who are doing them. Which is one way to keep ourselves from participating, too! 

We all need to work on taming our tongues, putting away ungodly speech. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!

Ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

I like how Thumper puts it. 🙂

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