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August 13, 1995

Taming the Wildest of Beasts

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All kinds of animals . . . have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. JAMES 3:7-8
So many things in God’s creation lead us to curiosity, fascination, even awe. For example, have you ever been to Sea World, the circus, or a zoo? It is amazing to observe a huge whale escorting a trainer across the pool, a Siberian tiger jumping through hoops, or an enormous elephant walking on its back legs.
Our ability to tame and train wild animals is amazing. But there is one beast that none of us can train alone, no matter how hard we try. That beast is the tongue. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness,” James writes. “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).
The tongue is the great betrayer. It relentlessly tells others what is going on inside of us. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says, “[O]ut of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” In some ways, to tame the tongue is to tame the heart. A change of heart promises the possibility of a change of speech.
A friend once said, “Whatever is in us comes out when we are squeezed.” If envy, anger, deception, or arrogance is in our hearts, it will come out when we are squeezed. On the other hand, if our hearts are full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, those, too, will come out when we’re under pressure.
All real speech therapy must start with heart training. And heart training is best achieved under the guidance of the Master heart surgeon, Jesus. Concentrate on this prayer today: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
What comes out when you are squeezed by the trials and pressures you face at work?

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