Have you ever found it impossible to be quiet? My son, who is 9, has from the day he could talk, always had to have the last word. It is maybe one of the most trying characteristics a person can have, the inability to know when to shut up. The Bible tells us that:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (KJV) or
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words. (God's Word Translation)
About two weeks ago, I began trying to impress upon my son the importance of learning to control his tongue. The Bible is very clear that the tongue is a very powerful weapon. Jesus Christ, the living word of God, will return at the end of this age, and Satan and his followers will be defeated by the power of his tongue:
Rev. 19:15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. (NIV)
But as I have been teaching him, it has come to me that I have much to learn about harnassing the power of my own tongue.
The book of James 3:2-9 says:
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. and a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the TONGUE is a SMALL thing that makes GRAND speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue IS A FLAME OF FIRE. It is a WHOLE WORLD OF WICKEDNESS, corrupting your ENTIRE BODY. It can set YOUR WHOLE LIFE ON FIRE, for it is set on FIRE BY HELL ITSELF. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and fish, but NO ONE CAN TAME THE TONGUE. IT IS RESTLESS AND EVIL, FULL OF DEADLY POISON.
If I could control my tongue, I would be perfect? Wow, wait a minute....think about that....and then think about......IT IS SET ON FIRE BY HELL ITSELF.
That's the one place it's so easy for Satan to trip us up...hearing ourselves speak. We're so proud, so boastful, so full of ourselves that it's easy to just let it pour out of our mouths; to the detriment of our whole body and whomever it is that we're speaking to, and for most of us, like my beautiful, adorable, wonderful son, it begins at a very young age. There were so many times when he was little that I wanted to tell him to just close his mouth, shut up, think before you speak, don't just keep talking to hear yourself speak. But the truth is that our world today blasts us when we talk that way to our children. We're living in the age of respect for all. Everyone gets to have his or her say and it seems like from the moment our children are born, we're encouraging them to speak up.
Since we're told that no one has the power to control the tongue, what do we do? What I'm noticing is that it's not until we're dead serious about our relationship with God that we begin to even want to control it, and so as we begin to see the fruit of the spirit living in us, we begin to want more and more to keep our tongues from evil. It's one of those daily things that we have to pray for....the wisdom of God in knowing when to keep our mouths shut, when to speak and what to say when we do.
Proverbs 15:2 tells us that the tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. When we pray for wisdom and self-control in the use of our tongues, others begin to see the effects of harnessing our tongues and we become an appealing example to them. They see that we're not constantly in turmoil with others because of something we said. They see that we're gently spoken. They see that we think before we speak. We use wisdom and care in addressing others and we don't seek to hurt anyone.
When we: stop trying to hear the wisdom of our own words; listening to how beautiful our voice sounds; and stop trying to convince ourselves and others of our great knowledge, we improve our chances of hearing that still, small voice deep inside and we increase the likelihood that we will do and/or say exactly what God wants us to do or say.
What I'm seeing in my walk is a continual need for God to replenish his spirit in me through prayer and reading the word. It is then that I can do all things through him who gives me strength and boy, do I need his strength to control this less-than-a-pound-dragon in my mouth.