Close

July 5, 1996

The Tongue: Small Muscle, Big Force

Share With Friends

[T]he tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. JAMES 3:5
Nowhere in Scripture is there a more focused and magnified look at the tongue than in James 3. But although James frequently refers to the two-ounce muscle we know as the tongue, he’s not engaging in an anatomical discourse. Rather, his emphasis is on self-control in the area of our speech.
James makes it clear that one single word can carry a lifelong, ever-expanding impact. He uses three scenes from nature to illustrate this: a small bit in a large horse’s mouth, a small rudder anchored beneath a huge ship, and a small spark that ultimately inflames a whole forest. “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal,” he writes. “Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. . . . Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:3-5).
It is sobering and convicting to think that the words that roll off our tongues every day carry so much weight and influence. With words, we can encourage or destroy. We can praise or criticize. We can edify or intimidate.
Before you head off to work each day, commit your speech to God. Ask God to help you tell the truth and not to shade your speech with lies or half-truths. Ask Him to help you not to speak harshly, critically, impatiently, or unkindly; not to spread rumors and gossip; and to avoid the crude, immoral, irreverent words and jokes that might slip from your mouth. Consider carefully the power you carry around in your mouth, and ask God to strengthen your self-control.

Share With Friends