“Jesus knows and understands the spiritual battle that goes on in our hearts. He offers His rest and a lighter yoke. Submit to God and repent of your sins. Then let Jesus forgive you and teach you how to trust and obey Him.”
“But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.” (James 3:8-9)
Have you ever tried to track what you say over a 24-hour period of time? Have you ever made it a goal to speak only helpful, affirming words over a 24- hour period to see what would happen? The results are humbling and hopeful. It’s humbling because you realize that it’s impossible to keep up a good track record for much longer than a couple of hours, let alone a day. It’s hopeful because you witness incredible blessing over you and your “neighbors” when you are careful with your words. The power of our words can truly heal, soften hearts, and benefit those who hear them when given over to our Savior.
In fact, James talks about the power of the tongue (our words). The tongue is so powerful that it is like a small rudder that can turn around a huge (cruise) ship a full 180 degrees–even up against torrential rain and strong winds! What we say can really turn our lives around OR turn our lives upside down! Imagine that! We can make a powerful and positive impact on a life by what we say every day! How much better can my marriage be if I just watch what I say? My conversations with my teenagers can be long and meaningful and the misunderstandings cleared up. My words can speak hope and healing into someone’s pain. Rebuke can be more easily received because I’ve been discerning in my speech with that person. An angry heart can soften when answered with kindness and gentleness. Truth can penetrate a desperate heart when it is spoken in love.
When we don’t watch our tongues, they also have the power to do great damage. James compares this to a tiny spark that grows into a blazing fire, destroying acres and acres of forests and wildlife, leaving only destruction and death. Our words can destroy our marriages and friendships, negate and render ineffective our personal testimony, exasperate and oppress our children, and poison the church.
Some believers may believe they have conquered this restless, little muscle inside their mouth by choosing to speak as little as possible. However, we know that this doesn’t erase the hidden sins of our hearts. In fact, if our sins aren’t dealt with and remain hidden in our hearts, even the few words we speak can cause irreparable damage.
Jesus addressed this in Matthew 12:34-37 to the Pharisees, “How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
So, where’s the hope for a sinful heart and a loose tongue? You can look to Jesus, the Author, and Finisher of our faith. On the cross at Calvary, Jesus said with his last breath, “It is finished!”
Jesus did all the hard work. He satisfied the Law by keeping it as a sinless man (in mind, body, heart, AND tongue) and satiated God’s wrath against man by offering Himself as a sacrifice in our place.
Jesus knows and understands the spiritual battle that goes on in our hearts. He offers His rest and a lighter yoke. Submit to God and repent of your sins. Then let Jesus forgive you and teach you how to trust and obey Him. How do we learn from Jesus and watch our words? God offers us His personal armor (Ephesians 6). Put it on. Read His Word (the sword of the Spirit) daily to battle against the evil that seeks to take over your heart. Remember, Jesus did all the work and won. Put your trust in Him.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)