James 3:5, "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
What a great opportunity God has given us today to serve and glorify Him! I pray that our church family will do just that. Let this day be used for His glory, which will always result in our benefit.
If you are like me, you may have already slipped up on some of your New Year's resolutions. I think it may have been January 2 or 3 that I was enjoying food again that wasn't part of my diet. We can laugh at some of that, but some of our resolutions are of a more serious nature. One of my spiritual desires this year is to guard my speech and have it be more Christ-like. Sometimes my tongue can be sharp, instead of loving and kind. It is something I really desire to see the Lord glorified in better this year.
This issue reminds me of something that happened in my life several years ago. I was twelve years old and I was over at a friend's house playing games. We both had the genius idea of playing with matches in the backyard. So we went outside, found a couple of leaves, and burned them. After a few turns lighting the matches, we began to expand our horizons and we both thought bigger. Fortunately, he lived on the edge of some woods. Now we had access to all the leaves that we could imagine. We began to make a couple of piles and then burn them. Once they started to grow, we stomped them out and put dirt on the piles. It seemed to be pretty harmless stuff at the time.
After a while of lighting piles of leaves on fire, we got bored and went back into his house. A short while later, I looked out of a window and noticed a large column of smoke coming from the spot in the woods where we had been lighting fires! It was about thirty feet wide and big enough for us to run to my house in panic. What if the fire spreads and burns houses? What if someone saw us? What does jail food taste like? So many things ran through our heads, but my friend's question has stuck with me ever since. He asked me, "How could something so small create such a big problem?"
As I studied through this devotional, this thought was pressed upon my heart: Don't our tongues do the same kind of damage to those around us? I realized that my tongue had done more damage than that fire ever could. Yes, trees were burned and scarred. But when my tongue causes damage, it affects lives. I remember all the times I said mean things to someone. I remember the sarcasm that I had used to belittle someone. I thought about all the scars I had left behind from the fire of my tongue. Even now, the Lord reminds me that I still have much to learn in keeping my tongue under control. How painful are the memories of my abusive tongue! I have hurt so many people with only a small little member. The tongue may be small, but it has tremendous power.
I would imagine that all of us, at times, battle over controlling our tongue. If I may, I would like to share three quick helps that I am asking the Lord to use in my life to control my tongue and glorify Him:
- Die to self each day (I Corinthians 15:31). I have found this to be true ... if I die to self, then my members are incapable of doing what I want. I must recognize that I cannot control my flesh. I must allow God to rule and reign in my life. Then I will find that my tongue can be used to help others and glorify Him.
- Memorize and study Scripture (Psalm 119:11; Matthew 15:18). The Bible says that whatever comes out of my mouth is from my heart. If I constantly fill my heart with Scripture, I will speak Scripture. I will not have time or room to speak fleshly. The Bible also describes the man that is "blessed" as meditating on the Word of God day and night. I guarantee you that person does not fail with their tongue.
- Intentionally practice speaking kind and Godly things (Ephesians 4:32; Psalm 34:13; Psalm 35:28). Studying the Word of God must be followed up with applying the Word of God. The more I practice what I study, the better He can be seen in my life. Christ spoke kind and loving words to people. Christ spoke of righteousness and Godly things. That ought to be my habit each day. The more I practice Christ-like speaking, the more it will become a habit.
I pray this will be an encouragement to you. Maybe you don't struggle with your tongue as much as others, but I believe these three things can help all of us. May God bless as we study and apply His Word.
Written by Kenn Winn