30 11 2013

I have been preaching verse by verse through the book of James these days at The Lighthouse Church in a series we have called “Pressure Points.” Last week we came to James Chapter 3, talking about a part of our bodies that there isn’t a person alive who cannot relate to the potential of its mighty power- and that is “the tongue.” This little New Testament letter tells us that the tongue and its words that flow from it can be used to pass out life sentences or toss out verbal grenades of death and destruction. When you stick out your tongue today- is it a pleasant experience for those who surround you or are they running for cover because nobody knows what to expect?

The Bible mentions many kinds of tongues within its pages. There is a flattering tongue (Psalm 5:9), a proud tongue (Psalm 12:3; 73:9), a lying tongue (Psalm 109:2; Prov. 6:17), a deceitful tongue (Psalm 120:2), a perverted tongue (Prov. 10:31; 17:20), a soothing tongue (Prov. 15:4), a healing tongue (Prov. 12:18), a destructive tongue (Prov. 17:4), a mischievous and wicked tongue (Psalm 10:7), a soft tongue (Prov. 25:15) and a backbiting tongue (Prov. 25:23). James said the tongue might be tiny- but it is packs the same kind of explosives that dynamite might provide! James illustrates its influence by comparing our tongues to be like a bit in a horse’s mouth (James 3:3) steering the direction your life may be riding! It is like the rudder of a ship (James 3:4) determining the course that your ship may be sailing! And in a purely negative sense, it can be as deadly as a devastating fire (James 3:5) leaving everyone within its path charred for good!

Until recently, we were pretty much in the dark about the amazing human body. But when the x-ray came along with its peeping eye- this marvelous instrument has been used to bring solace and healing to much human misery. It has been able to show us pictures of the human heart though it can’t show us the soul. It can pin point upon the throat- but not box in the voice. We have learned much about the brain- but the mind can still be mysterious. Nevertheless, medical science has done much to help with the outer body that wastes away with each new day! If our eyes don’t work- we can get glasses. If the heart or kidney fails us- there are transplants as possibilities! But as far as I know there has never been a tongue transplant!

If we used our arms and legs as much as we have allowed our tongues to run wild, chances are very good that we would be incredibly stiff and sore! But the tongue doesn’t get that tired or tied like it should. I have never seen a splint applied to a sprained tongue! With age, we might have our original pearly whites replaced with dentures- but odds are that you will die with the same tongue intact that you entered into the world with! There are artificial limbs- but no mechanical tongues robotically engineered into our mouths!

The Scottish have a wise saying about communication. They say, “Think twice before you speak once!” How much better would we all be if we weighed each word before we launched it? How many conversations do you wish you could have had a second chance at? I know I would sign up for a rewind button that might have erased all the hurtful quips that I have foolishly let go through my lips! Sticks and stones may break your bones and ignorant loose language will hurt you every time! How many of you are still living with the haunting memories of what beloved individuals have smacked you with through the years? Talk matters! Speak wisely!

When you stick out your tongue today, I pray you take your words and weigh them upon a spiritual scale and ask God to keep you from spouting off careless syllables. Remember- it all begins with the approach you take by simply uttering, “Hello!” Make it matter! Build another up before you take a cheap shot and wipe them out! Not every sentence must be said. Allow the Holy Spirit permission to edit the speech before it is given! Pay attention carefully today to not be another fountain of toxic talk! Beg the Lord to empower you to be a fountain of life and when you do correct or are critical- may it be bathed in grace and mercy and most importantly love!

Teach us Lord to do as the Psalmist says and set a watch at the door of my lips that my speech may always be seasoned with grace (Psalm 141:3). Make my speech always edifying, uplifting, and that which glorifies God. And if I can’t say something positive- then let my negative go as an unspoken gift! Clean up the air pollution of our careless speech! Stick out your tongue and say, “Ah Lord God- speak through me!”



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