Controlling The Powerful Tongue
3 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
- Not everyone should teach. (vv. 1-2)
- What does this mean?
- Why did James make this statement? (vv.1-2)
- Teachers receive a stricter judgment. (v.1; Matthew 18:6-7)
- It is very difficult NOT to sin with the tongue. (v. 2)
- The tongue is small but powerful. (vv. 3-5)
- The tongue is like:
- A small bit that turns a large horse. (v.3)
- A small rudder that turns a large ship. (v. 4)
- A small fire that ignites an inferno. (v.5)
- These are good examples because:
- We don’t typically realize what damage the tongue can or will do until after it has already happened.
- What damage does it inflict?
- The tongue is not tameable, yet is powerful for good.
- The tongue has incredible power to harm. (v. 6)
- Only God can tame the “untameable” tongue.
- When we accept forgiveness, and receive salvation…the process immediately begins.
- It is totally inconsistent for Christians to misuse the tongue. (vv. 9-12)
- What is controlling your tongue?