Today we’re going to look at the importance of controlling the tongue. I believe that this is one of the hardest subjects in the Bible. Many times we let our feelings or hurts get a hold of what we say. We need to learn the importance of a controlled tongue.
(v1) TEACHING: Obviously not everyone is called to be a teacher. However, those who are called to the teaching position (here in reference specifically to a spiritual teacher) are called to a much higher level of obedience. Here we have a warning of a stricter judgment to come for those who are spiritual teachers. We need to realize, if we are in a spiritual position of authority, we are called to a higher level.
(v2) WE ALL STUMBLE: It’s obvious that we’re all sinners. Here it is stated. “We all stumble in many ways...” However the man who does not stumble in what he says is perfect. Perfect: (Teleios) brought to it's end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfect, that which is perfect, full-grown, mature, adult, of full age. We see that the man who has a controlled tongue is able to control the rest of the body as well. Controlling the tongue is a sign of strength.
(vv3- 4) POWER OF THE CONTROLLED TONGUE: James here compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship. The ship is so great but the rudder is what controls every movement. Let’s recognize here how powerful the tongue is. Not only this but the effects of a controlled tongue. If we can control our tongues we are capable of controlling our entire body as well.
(vv5- 6) DANGER OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: The example that has been left to us is that of a forest set ablaze by one small flame. The tongue is compared to a flame set on fire by hell. Although the tongue is small it can do great damage. One word can completely destroy the life of another. If we don’t realize the power that our tongue holds we won’t be as prone to controlling it.
(vv7- 8) RECOGNIZE THAT I CAN’T CONTROL MY TONGUE: Here we see that every specie of animal has been tamed and can be tamed by man, however, no man can tame the tongue. We need to rely on the Lord. He is the only one that can sanctify us and help us to control our tongue. He is the only one that can subdue the “deadly poison” of the tongue.
(vv9- 12) RECOGNIZE THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: I love this part of Scripture, James compares the inconsistent tongue to a river of salt water and a river of clean water. A river cannot be both clean and salty. If there is but a small bit of salt in the river it is not clean water. The same goes with us. “With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse me, who have been made in the likeness of God.” What hypocrites we are. It shouldn’t be like this. We need to control our tongue. Let’s ask the Lord today to help us.
CONCLUSION: Today has been a difficult section of Scripture for me. Being on the field It is very easy to become annoyed with others and I am not always careful with what I say, however, God is calling you and I to control our mouths no matter what the situation is. “God, help us today to control our tongue, and control what we say. Help us to treat others for what they are, children of God. Lord thank You for Your Word, thank You that we can know truth. Help us today Lord, we love you. Amen.