James Series: How to Control the Tongue (3:1-12)

March 7, 2020

 

 

 

How to Control the Tongue

 

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly. For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.

James 3:1-12 (NET)

 

 

How can we control the tongue?

 

After describing how true saving faith always leads to good works in James 2:14-26, James focuses his attention on the tongue. He does this because the tongue always reveals who we are, including whether we have true faith. In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus said:

 

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles. The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart.

 

It’s impossible for people to hide who they are for long—their words will always reveal what’s in their hearts. According to Christ, a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. Whatever fills our hearts, will ultimately come out. Therefore, James challenged these Jewish Christians to consider the fruit of their tongues and what it revealed about their faith; but also, he challenged them to sanctify their tongues.

 

This is not the first time James mentioned the importance of the tongue as a proof of true faith. In James 1:26, he said, “If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.” True faith always results in a changed language. It does not result in perfect language, but it should be different.

 

It is clear from how James mentions the tongue in each chapter of his book, that these Jewish Christians were really struggling with their words, especially in speaking evil of one another. In James 1:19, he said, “…Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” In James 2:12, he said, “Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom.” In James 3, as we are studying today, half the text is about the tongue. In James 4:11, he commanded them to “not slander one another” (NIV). In James 5:12, he said to them, “… But let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no, so that you may not fall into judgment”—essentially, he commanded them to stop lying. The mouths of these Jewish believers were causing damage in their churches, and James challenged them about their faith and to live it out through their language.  

 

This is the paradox of true believers. Because we have been born again, we have been changed—we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). We have new natures, and therefore, we should be different. However, we must continue to grow in this sanctification—seeking to look more like Christ daily. This is what James challenges these believers about in this text—specifically focusing on their language.

 

James 3:2 says, “For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well.” In this, we see another reason James encouraged these Jewish believers to develop a sanctified tongue. A sanctified tongue is a proof of spiritual maturity. When James says, “If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual,” he is not referring to being perfect in the sense of being sinless. He is referring to becoming mature. This is one of James major themes in the letter. In James 1:4, he said, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The word “mature” in James 1:4 is the same as “perfect” in 3:2. One of God’s goals for believers is for them to become mature in the faith, and he often uses trials to create that in our lives. The weight of trials, as we submit to God in them, creates a mature character in us, including the ability to control our tongues. As James suggest, if we can conquer our tongues—not practicing lying, complaining, crude or ungodly jokes and comments—then, we will be able to control the rest of our bodies. This means that the person with godly speech demonstrates that he also has developed the ability to control his anger, his lust, and his worry, among other things. And the person who has loose lips probably struggles in all the other areas. Our tongues are windows into our spiritual lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Therefore, James gives us even more reason to seek to control our tongues. A controlled tongue is not only proof of true saving faith, but it is also proof of spiritual maturity.

 

In James 3:1-12, he gives us insights on controlling our tongues. He will do this in part by using eight metaphors of the tongue—a bit in the mouth of a horse, a rudder of a ship, a fire, untamed animals, a restless evil, poison, a tree, and a spring.

 

Big Question: According to James 3:1-12, how can believers control their tongues?

 

To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize that God Will Judge Our Words

 

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.

James 3:1

 

When James says, “Not many of you should become teachers,” he was not trying to dissuade those who were truly called to ministry. Because of the great respect given to Jewish teachers, many were seeking to become rabbis for selfish reasons. When considering the Pharisees, Christ said this about them:

 

They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.

Matthew 23:5-7

 

Unfortunately, their ministry became all about seeking the applause and favor of people, instead of the applause and favor of God. They loved being called ‘Rabbi,’ which means “master” or “great one.”[1] Rabbis were given tremendous respect in the Jewish culture. In fact, if one’s parents were captured by an enemy, duty dictated that a person should rescue the rabbi first.[2] It is very easy to see how pursuing the ministry really became a power grab, instead of a genuine desire to serve others.

 

Sadly, this often happens in churches today. People pursue the ministry to be called “pastor” or “doctor”—to be honored and served by others, instead of serving people. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus confronted this spirit in his disciples when he said:

 

… “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

Ministry should be pursued for more opportunities to serve God and others and not to be served or honored.

 

With that said, James gave these Jewish believers another reason to not wrongly pursue teaching positions. He said that those who teach will receive a greater judgment (3:1). As mentioned, by teaching and serving in ministry, one has a greater capacity to serve God and others, but one also has a greater capacity to hurt others and dishonor God. Many people have been hurt in the church because of the ungodly words and actions of a person in leadership.

 

In light of this, here are some practical insights concerning teachers[3]:

 

1. Teachers must be chosen carefully. In 1 Timothy 5:22, Paul said, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily and so identify with the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” When the wrong teachers are put into leadership, the results can be disastrous—even leading some members of the church to leave the faith. By selecting wrong teachers, we share in their sins.

 

2. Teachers must prepare diligently. In 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV), Paul said, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Part of the reason there is so much weak teaching and false teaching in the church is because there is laziness behind the pulpit. It takes hard work to understand a text, draw out its applications, and teach it well. Therefore, teachers must work hard.

 

3. Teachers must live consistently. In 1 Timothy 4:16 (ESV), Paul said, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” When a teacher doesn’t live what he teaches, it will be destructive for his own spiritual life and also those who listen to him. Teachers must practice what they preach.

 

4. Teachers must keep learning and growing. In 1 Timothy 4:15 (ESV), Paul said, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” After challenging Timothy to be devoted to public reading of Scripture, preaching, and teaching, Paul tells him to “immerse” himself in these practices, so everyone would see his progress. In Matthew 10:25, Christ taught that “it is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher.” Our teachers set our spiritual ceiling, and therefore, they must be continually growing.

 

Though James is specifically speaking about teachers, his words apply to everyone. We all have a tendency to sin with our words and effect those who listen to us. With teachers, their judgment is greater because presumably, they have greater knowledge of God’s Word and, also because their words affect more people.

 

With that said, understanding how God holds us accountability for our words is important for learning how to control them. We each will be judged by our words, and the more responsibility God gives us, the greater the judgment. The parent raising children has a greater accountability than the single person. The supervisor overseeing many employees has a greater accountability than the person overseeing none. The school teacher is accountable for the students in his classroom. We all affect someone with our words and therefore will be held accountable for how we use them.

 

In Matthew 12:36-37, Christ said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Some versions say we will be judged for “every idle word.” Likewise, Matthew 5:19 says,

 

So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

God will judge us for our words. When we truly understand this, it should encourage us to be sober and wise with our speech.

 

Application Question: How have you seen or experienced how pastors/teachers negatively affect the spiritual lives of those they teach? In what ways have specific pastors/teachers been a blessing to your spiritual life? How should the fact that God will judge each one of our words affect how we speak?

 

To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize Its Power to Direct Lives

 

And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions.

James 3:3-5a

 

Next, James uses two metaphors to describe the power of the tongue—the bit in the mouth of a horse and the rudder of a ship. Though a bit is small, it can be used to change the direction of a large horse. Also, ships are controlled by a tiny rudder. By using these two illustrations, James seems to focus on the tongue’s power to direct life, either for good or bad. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit.”

 

By having a brief conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus changed the life of that woman and many others, who repented after she shared with them (John 4). When Peter preached at Pentecost, 3000 people were saved (Acts 2). Words have the ability to direct people’s lives both for tremendous good.

 

Likewise, when Satan tempted Eve in the garden with his words, “Did God really say?” he sowed seeds of doubt into Eve, which helped lead our world into sin, chaos, and destruction. Likewise, Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein spoke words that led to hate, oppression, and genocide. Words are indeed powerful and can not only direct individuals but even nations for good or bad.

 

Overcoming Powerful Forces

 

In considering James’ illustration of the bit in the mouth of a horse and the rudder of a ship, it implies that in order to use our words for good, we must overcome powerful forces. The bit must overcome the power and nature of the horse, and the rudder must overcome the power of the wind and the waves. Likewise, for believers, we must overcome various forces: (1) We must overcome the power of our flesh which is inclined towards anger, impatience, complaining, and slander (cf. Gal 5:19-20). (2) We must overcome circumstances—whether adverse circumstances or good ones. Bad circumstances, like someone being rude to us, can lead us to speak evil and unwise words. Also, good circumstances can sometimes lead us to speaking prideful or careless words. (3) Also, as with Christ rebuking Satan’s spoken words through Peter in Matthew 16:23, at times, we can even let the devil control our words. This is probably what James meant when he said in 3:6 that the tongue “is set on fire by hell.” Satan wants to control our tongues, and sometimes, he uses negative or positive circumstances to do so. He understands that words have power to control and guide someone’s life, so he aims to use them for evil.

 

Therefore, instead of being controlled by our outward or inward circumstances or the devil, we must allow God to control our tongues. Like David, in Psalm 141:3, we must pray, “O Lord, place a guard on my mouth! Protect the opening of my lips!” We must also remember how a sarcastic or critical remark can have long-lasting negative effects on somebody’s life, and also, how an edifying word can impact someone positively. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

 

We must control our tongues because they have the power to direct and guide our lives and others’ as well.

 

Application Question: In what ways have you experienced how words spoken over you (when you were young or old) had a tremendous impact on the direction of your life (in considering your gifts, personality, appearance, etc.)? How have you seen this with others? Has the power of words to direct and guide been taking out of balance both in the church and the world by movements such as Word of Faith and New Age, which focus on “speaking things into existence”? If so, what is the proper balance?

 

To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize Its Destructive Nature

 

So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell.

James 3:5-6

 

James also compares the tongue to a fire. As a tiny flame sets a huge forest a flame, so does the tongue cause great destruction. In verse 6, he describes the tongues destructive nature by various phrases: (1) He calls it a “world of wrongdoing,” in that it can cause, what seems like, a world of problems. (2) It “pollutes the entire body,” as it affects the mind and the mind controls the various part of the body. (3) It “sets fire to the course of human existence”—emphasizing how it can destroy a person’s entire life or the direction of a community or nation. (4) “It is set on fire by hell”—again emphasizing how the devil often inspires the tongue for evil purposes.

 

People often think of crimes like pedophilia, murder, or genocide as demonically inspired; however, as mentioned, James says that our tongues, including seemingly “slight” abuses of them are guided by the devil. In the Greek, the word for “devil” actually means to slander, accuse, or defame. That’s what Satan does: he slanders us before God; he slanders us to others; he slanders others to us; he slanders us individually to our own minds—causing us think depressing and ungodly thoughts. The devil is a slanderer, and when we speak evil, we participate in his ungodly works—setting fires that injure and destroy.

 

Because of the tongue’s destructive nature (and Satan’s tendency to use it for that purpose), we must choose to never speak unedifying words about others or even ourselves. Proverbs 26:20 says, “Where there is no wood, a fire goes out, and where there is no gossip, contention ceases.” When we stop speaking ungodly words, often peace resumes in a friendship, family, or community.

 

With this stark reality in mind, here are six types of ungodly speech to avoid:

 

1. Avoid gossip. Gossip is the spreading of unflattering information about someone behind their back even if it’s true. Proverbs 16:28 says, “… a gossip separates the closest friends.” Author Jerry Bridges comment is helpful. He said, “The difference between a gossip and a concerned friend is like the difference between a butcher and a surgeon. Both cut the flesh, but for different reasons.”[4]

 

2. Avoid slander. Slander is misrepresenting someone or giving false statements that defame a person’s character.

 

3. Avoid criticism. Criticism is negative comments about someone which might be true but are unnecessary and unedifying.

 

4. Avoid flattery. Flattery is an attempt to manipulate someone through excessive and insincere praise.

 

5. Avoid coarse joking. Coarse joking is making light of sin—like sex, racism, or even crimes like murder. Since there is power in words, even coarse jokes affect us and others negatively—often polluting the mind and then actions. Ephesians 5:11-12 says, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention.” Some things, we shouldn’t even mention, and certainly not joke about.

 

6. Avoid lying. Lying is simply not telling the truth, including half-truths or exaggerations. Often to protect ourselves, we shade the truth to avoid responsibility, or we exaggerate to make ourselves look better. This was obviously happening amongst these Jewish believers because James tells them, “But let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall into judgment” (5:12). We should be people who practice honesty, at all costs, as well (cf. Ps 15:1, 4).

 

By these and other negative words, people ignite destructive fires that wound and kill individuals and communities.

 

Application Question: Why is it so common for people to fall in the trap of using ungodly speech such as gossip, slander, criticism, flattery, or coarse joking? What are some common triggers that lead you into ungodly speech?

 

To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize that It Is Humanly Uncontrollable

 

For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:6-7

 

James uses three more metaphors to compare and contrast with the tongue—untamed animals, restless evil, and poison. James describes how all types of animals have been tamed, but the tongue has never been tamed (3:6). It is uncontrollable apart from God. Then, he calls it a “restless evil” and a “deadly poison.” When calling it a “restless evil,” James is saying that the tongue never sleeps, and therefore, we must always be on guard with it. We must guard it when we wake up in the morning. We must guard it while we are at work. We must guard it in times of worship. We must guard it in times of difficulty. It’s so easy for our tongues to lead us into sin. Proverbs 21:23 says, “The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life from troubles.” James also says the tongue is “full of deadly poison” (3:7); therefore, it must always be handled gently and with care, as it could potentially hurt or kill somebody.

 

James goes to great extremes to show how evil and uncontrollable the tongue is. Again, in 3:6, he directly says that “no human can subdue the tongue.” By saying all this, James aimed to show the Jewish believers how weak and vulnerable they were to their own tongues, and how they needed to depend on God to control them. 

 

Application Question: In what ways has God given believers power to control the tongue?

 

(1) In order for believers to conquer sin, including sins of the tongue, God broke the power of our sin nature on the cross. In Romans 6:6, Paul says, “We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Because of this reality, Paul says, we should consider ourselves “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11). In order to control our tongues and other sinful tendencies, we must remember that God broke the power of sin on our lives, through Christ’s death on the cross. This is especially important as Satan commonly lies to us and seeks to make us feel like we will never be free from some besetting sin, including ungodly language. Regardless of how we feel, what others say, or our circumstances seem to indicate, we were set free from bondage of sin on the cross, and therefore, we must fight sin from that reality. In John 8:36, Christ said, “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.”

 

(2) Also, in order for believers to conquer sin, including sins of the tongue, God gave each believer a new nature. Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” Then in Galatians 5:22-23a, Paul describes the fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” By living in the Spirit, which refers to obeying and worshiping God and turning away from the world and sin, we gain power over our tongues. Our tongues will begin to demonstrate what the Spirit is bearing in us “love, peace, gentleness, and self-control,” among other godly fruits.

 

Because of the evil tendency of our tongues, we must daily live in the Spirit, so God can use our tongues for good instead of evil. Are we daily living in the Spirit (by abiding in God’s Word and prayer), or are we simply visitors—going to church on occasion, reading our Bible and praying on occasion? If we are visitors, we will not be able to control our tongues; our tongues will control us and others in a negative manner.

 

God made what was uncontrollable, controllable by breaking sin’s power of us and giving us his Spirit. We must believe and actualize these truths to control our tongue.

 

Application Question: In what ways have you struggled with your tongue as a Christian? In what ways have you seen break through with some of those struggles?

 

To Control the Tongue, We Must Have the Right Goal—Consistency

 

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.

James 3:9-12

 

By comparing our tongues to a spring and trees, James aims to reveal the inconsistency of our tongues and how they should not be this way. In regular life, a fresh spring does not produce bitter water; a fig tree does not produce olives, and a vine does not produce figs. If we are saved, then we should produce fruit in accordance with our new nature; however, that does not always happen. Therefore, James challenges these believers to consistency.

 

Application Question: How can we develop more consistency with our tongue?

 

Though we have covered some of these, re-emphasizing them is helpful, so our words can be consistently used for good instead of evil.

 

1. To be consistent with our words, we must first be born again.

 

The tongue cannot be tamed by the flesh; we need a new nature to control it. Again, this is part of what James is doing in this text. In James 2:14-26, he argued that true faith will be demonstrated through godly works, and that includes how we use our tongues (cf. James 1:26). Therefore, if we have been saved, our tongues have changed, and in submission to God, we must continue to change them. Again, Christ said this in referring to the fruit of our tongues as a proof of salvation, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles” (Lk 6:43-44).

 

2. To be consistent with our words, we must saturate our mind with godly things and reject the ungodly.

 

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” To think on what is true and worthy, means to reject what is untrue and unworthy. Our minds are like computers, what we put in comes out. If we think on godly things, including God’s Word, it will come out in our speech. But if we put in filthy music, books, TV, and conversations, that will be reflected in our words as well. Many Christians have inconsistent language simply because their input is inconsistent with their profession of faith. To be consistent with our words, we must saturate ourselves with godly things and reject the ungodly.  

 

3. To be consistent with our words, we must learn to be slow to speak.

 

James 1:19 says, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Also, Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his words is wise.” Wise people restrain their words, so they can better discern what others are saying, as to avoid miscommunication. Wise people restrain their words, so they can better discern the motive behind what they want to say. Are their motives selfish and vindictive or god-honoring and selfless? When we don’t restrain our words, sin will abound, including miscommunication and discord.

 

Restraining our words is especially important in vulnerable situations. A good acronym to remember is HALT. Be slow to speak when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. We are especially prone to sinning with our mouths in those times.

 

4. To be consistent with our words, we must decide to only speak gracious words.

 

Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.” “Grace” means “unmerited favor.” Therefore, to be gracious in our words, means always speaking loving things to people, even when they don’t deserve it. It means that even though they deserve our wrath, we give them God’s favor. We bless and do not curse. Ephesians 4:29 says, “You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.” With that said, speaking gracious words, doesn’t mean we never correct sin. That is often the most gracious thing we can do, as long as it is spoken in a loving and wise manner (cf. Eph 4:15, Prov 5:1).

 

Who is God calling you to speak gracious words to—encouraging words about their personality, spiritual gifts, hard work, etc.? Our words are powerful, including our compliments. We should constantly seek to shower people with encouraging words. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” We should be people that constantly bring joy to others.

 

To control our tongues, we must aim for consistency. An apple tree doesn’t produce figs. Likewise, our lips should not produce unwholesome fruit.

 

Application Question: What are some other tips to help our words be more consistent—reflecting God’s righteousness?

 

Conclusion

 

It is clear that the Jewish Christians James wrote to were struggling with their language, and that the pattern of their language might have demonstrated a deeper spiritual problem in their lives—a lack of true saving faith. James warned about this earlier in the letter. In James 1:26, he said, “If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.” Controlling our tongues is a proof of being born again and having a new nature. Therefore, James challenges them, and us, to live in accordance with our professed faith, lest our unbridled tongues destroy our lives and others.

 

  1. To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize that God Will Judge Our Words

  2. To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize Its Power to Direct Lives

  3. To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize Its Destructive Nature

  4. To Control the Tongue, We Must Recognize that It Is Humanly Uncontrollable

  5. To Control the Tongue, We Must Have the Right Goal—Consistency

 

 

Prayer Prompts

 

  • Pray for forgiveness for the sins of our lips—complaining, bitterness, criticism, coarse joking, boasting, lying, and anything else that dishonors God and hurts others.

  • Pray that others might forgive our failures with our lips and that we might have full reconciliation with them.

  • Pray for God to anoint our lips to praise and honor God in all circumstances, to speak with wisdom to help others, and to declare God’s truths, including the gospel, with boldness.

 

 

 

[1] Accessed 3/4/20, from https://www.definitions.net/definition/rabbi

 

[2] Hughes, R. K. (1991). James: faith that works (p. 126). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

[3] Modified from Bruce Goettsche’s sermon, accessed 3/4/20, from http://www.unionchurch.com/archive/092108.html

 

 

[4] Accessed 3/4/20, from http://www.unionchurch.com/archive/092108.html

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