I saw this comic and was immediately reminded of what James to us:
“Our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison” (James 3:8).
You may as well know right from the start, James was speaking directly to believers. He was issuing a call to the church to gain control of what they say — before they are destroyed by their talking! How serious are the words that come out of our mouths? Can an unruly tongue” really be that sinful?
I have no idea why believers don’t pay attention to what the are saying, the sins of the tongue — gossip, slander, lying, exaggeration. It could be because we commit these “respectable sins” so mindlessly that we never consider that they are serious as we do sins like adultery or drunkenness.
I don’t know if you remember that famous line: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Well, great idea, but you better remember what we just read: “The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that gets out of control, and always spreading deadly poison (James 3:6, 8). That’s serious folks!
A loose tongue, as they say, can render your faith absolutely worthless! It can make every one of your spiritual activities totally useless in the eyes of your Father. James had previously said, “If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless” (James 1:26).
This isn’t talking about drug addicts or street people but those members of the body of Christ who appear to be pious, or spiritual. They are active in the work of the Lord, but I’ll tell ya, their tongues are loose, unbridled, and out of control! James is zeroing in on those who seem to be holy, kind, gentle and loving, but rather move among those in the church or their job or their family with acid tongues. they are always telling tidbits of gossip or listening with a willing ear. They murmur and complain and God says their religion — all their show of spirituality—is in vain, worthless!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and discover that all my work for the Lord — all of the things that I have done or will do — has been in vain!
I never want to hear Him say, “Son, you did some good things in My name. You fed the hungry, clothed the naked, cast out devils, and supported your church and other ministries. Yes, you have written many inspirational messages and preached many sermons. But it was all for nothing! Many uplifting words came out of your mouth but there were also bitter, unkind, hateful, envious words! You took My warnings on this matter of the tongue too lightly!” Oh Lord, please help me to be found worthy of your calling.
You might sit there saying, “Come on, our God isn’t so unloving that He would discount my spirituality because I said something that was unloving or hurtful!” Well, I am talking to Christians whose tongues, as James says, have never been tamed, who speak against other Christians without blinking an eye! Here is what the Word of God says about it:
“I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
So, what are we going to do? Well, some have been able to quit smoking or drinking simply through the power of their own might, but the problem of the heart and tongue will never be solved through human willpower. You would be silly to think you could. No, it will take the power of the resurrected Christ within us to control the words we speak, and that power is only available to those who turn their lives over to Him. As Jesus said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything!” (Matthew 19:26).
The only One who can control the tongue is the Spirit of God who is living within us. I only through Him that we can ever hope to gain control over our tongues. He convicts us when we sin with our lips, and that conviction drives us to repent and pray for the Grace so we can avoid further sin. As we cling to Him and yield to Him, He controls us more and more, including our tongues. It is all it takes. Are you ready? Submit and call on Him to help you.
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