By guest writer, Julia Phillips
“With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” - James 3:9-12
In the book of James, James encourages followers of Christ to walk out their faith. This passage specifically points out the power of the tongue and the potential damage this small muscle can cause. We can all understand this truth because we know the wounds that words cause on a personal level. Or, perhaps we have experienced the power of words to heal.
I once had a co-worker who annoyed me in every way—her mannerisms, her voice, the things she wanted to talk about. I was polite to her, but I could feel my aggravation developing daily. With pride and bitterness growing, it was only a matter of time before I would accidentally speak rudely. I prayed a prayer that I didn’t really want to pray: “Lord, help me to see this woman the way you see her. Would you please give me love for her?” He answered me and gave me compassion for my co-worker. It was even a surprise to me when I began to like her and care about her.
The words that our tongues produce will reflect our inner life. So how do we speak in a way that is honoring to God? We must tend to the source: our hearts and minds. Understanding that we are new creations, we speak as new creations. In Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can exercise self-control and stop language that doesn’t honor God before it comes out of us.
Is the Lord calling you to stop a particular way of speaking and replace it with true words that honor him? Try to be aware today of the thoughts in your mind and how they influence what you say. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how you can use your tongue to praise God today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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