Words matter to God. He hears our speech, conversations, comments, and every idle word. God’s Word has a LOT to say about our words:
“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
One of the biggest challenges we have as Christ-followers and God-focused worshipers is self-control, especially of our tongues—our words.
We live in a country where free speech is a constitutional right, and I have seen examples of people whose thoughtless exercise of that right has resulted in hurts, divisions, and even violence. When our own words matter more to us than God or the people He has put into our life, we have entered into idol worship—and we are the idol. I have been in meetings—even some church gatherings— where unfiltered, harsh words have flown, and people have been wounded and churches divided.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
For all the years I have lived as a redeemed, adopted son of the Most High God because of Jesus Christ, I’m still learning to allow the Holy Spirit to guard my mouth even more. I mourn over and have repented of the times when I rebelled against the promptings of the Holy Spirit and instead spoke careless, harsh, untrue, or even cruel words. Even as I have asked for and received His forgiveness, I am learning the secret to controlling the tongue: It’s God’s power, not mine, that makes the difference. My role is to allow God’s control over my heart, mind, and words. Here are a few suggestions about taming the tongue that I have learned and am still learning!
1) IMMERSE: I drench myself in God’s Word every day with the goal of letting it become a part of the fabric of my being. I say Bible verses aloud, memorize verses, and then tuck them into my mind and heart.
2) REMEMBER: that even when being unfairly attacked, God is my defender, so I don’t always have to answer. Jesus didn’t say a word when false witnesses spoke against him, even at the cost of His own life. His divine power and control are available to us.
3) YIELD: Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of my emotions and words, especially during stressful encounters. Pray this prayer ahead of upcoming meetings or when you anticipate that you will be interacting with a potentially difficult person. Pray for them as well!
4) PRAY: Part of my daily worship is to pray various Scriptures about the tongue. Here are a few of my favorites:
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the
tongue of the wise brings healing”
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”
“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor,and casts no slur on others…”
“I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you”
Let’s allow God to mold us so that our words to Him and others become an act of worship.
Blessings to you, my friends!