The Power of the Tongue
The tongue may be a small member in the body but it has a great effect (James 3:5). For it “has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 also 17:27-28). The tongue is able to inspire great deeds, whether they be good or evil. And the Christian is called to use his words for good purposes (Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 10:19; 15:28).
A man’s words reveal the general tone of his thoughts. If he controls his thoughts to the extent that his words are consistently Christlike, the “whole body” is safely under control (Matthew 12:34–37). “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10).
The tongue is like fire (Proverbs 26:20; 15:4). All that can be said about the deadly power of a small flame can also be said to the potential power of words. The most important issues relating to people may be harmed by the power of only one critical comment. Christians are not only to avoid negative words but also reacting to the hurtful words of others (Matthew 15:11; Proverbs 17:9; 21:23).
The sinful human nature lacks the power to control any member of the body. When a man does not let the Holy Spirit to control his mind, and thus his speech, His words become an instrument of evil. The words spoken in haste are like poison that cause hurt and damage (Psalms 140:3; Romans 3:13). A tongue that curses and says evil words marks a person as a tool in the devil’s hand (Proverbs 12:13,18;15:1).
The Tongue Can Be Tamed by God’s Grace
Only through divine grace can this member of the body be tamed (James 3:2, 10). The Lord works for us if we submit our will to Him. The mind must first be controlled before the tongue is tamed. Paul wrote, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
And to control the thoughts, a person must first submit his heart to God (James 1:14). Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). The “yoke” of Christ is the divine will which is summed in the law of God (Isaiah 42:21) and magnified in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).
The proof that a person is truly converted is when he by his words bless his enemies, for example (Matthew 5:44, 45; Proverbs 31:26; Psalm 141:3). Christ Himself did not bring against Satan “a railing accusation” (Jude 9). Evil words are rushed from hate and exhibit the spirit of Satan, “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
The lips that have been sanctified will utter words to glorify God. The Psalmist says, “May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts” (Psalm 119:171-173).
Victory in Christ
There is no need for the Christian to be discouraged by his unruly lips because by Christ’s life and His death, Jesus has accomplished victory over every weakness. “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) is the guarantee of victory over the tongue and all other weaknesses. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Jesus’ life attests that it is possible for the believer to tame his lips. Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). When the heavenly commands are truly followed, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the believer’s victory. In Christ, there is grace for daily victory (1 John 5:4). The Lord promised that the believers can be “saved to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25), be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), and “always triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
In His service,