Taming the Tongue!

There are many animals that have been "tamed" as pets.  My niece owned a pet hedgehog! A friend of mine had a pet tarantula!  I knew a person who had a pet rat!!!  Yes, there are many animals that can be tamed and even used productively like dairy cattle or police dogs.  As James writes, "Every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind." (James 3:7)

But, there is something that we cannot tame. All of us have trouble getting a little thing called the tongue under control. "No man can tame the tongue." (James 3:8)  Why? Because while our words may be on the tip of our tongue, they originate from deep within us. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34). And so the tongue can be used for both good and evil (James 3:9). Or, as Peter Davids put it, "On the one hand, the tongue is very religious, but, on the other, it can be most profane."

The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.St. James writes, "So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (James 3:5) What hope can a person have to tame his tongue and avoid the fire of hell?

Our hope is in Jesus Christ, who as the ONLY person who ONLY used His tongue in a perfect way, remained silent to receive our punishment and take our place! "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth."  (Isaiah 53:7)

On the cross, Jesus spoke up for us when He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34).  When others speak ill of you, don't worry! You don't have to use your tongue to fight back with wicked words of your own.  Jesus is still speaking up for you today!  You can rely on the promises of God's Word as St. Paul writes, "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us." (Romans 8:34)

If you are like me and you continue to struggle with an unruly tongue, turn this problem over to God.  Are we always prone to speak evil? Thankfully, by God's grace, no! We are not left to our own devices. The Lord will "set a guard" over my mouth; He will "keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm. 141:3). He can tame the untamable.  To rule your tongue, let Christ rule in your heart!

Trusting in Jesus,
Pastor Steve Maske

Posted October 3, 2018

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