The Power of the Tongue
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)
Wow! What a way to start out. There’s nothing like getting to the point on a subject is there? Life and death occupy the extremes of the spectrum called living. One enjoys happiness and blessings, the other bad days and trouble. While life enjoys fruitfulness and hopefulness, death hammers out destruction and broken relationships. This life and death however have no power without an agent to carry them. This agent can turn them off or on at any time. It can make one effective and fruitful and the other powerless and weak. The agent I speak of is your tongue. The Bible, The Word of God, has much to say about the tongue. James speaks of this little member in our body and what he has to say isn’t very pretty.
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8 (KJV)
Now don’t get discouraged here at the first. This sounds pretty bad and it really is, but before we finish we will look at the solution to this problem at the end of the lesson.
There are several things that an unbridled tongue will do. It will boast of many things, it can kindle destructive fires, it is a world of iniquity (sinfulness), it follows the course of nature, is full of poison, an unruly evil and sets us on the course of hell itself. Some have called the tongue, “The little red devil behind the white pearly gates.” Whatever you may call it, your tongue has the capacity to do great harm and destruction. If that was not enough, it also says no man can tame this member of our body. As crazy as it may seem, it also has the power to bring life.
Do you find yourself hurting others with your words more times than not?
A Ship and a Horse
James portrays the tongue as a rudder of a ship and a bit in the horses’ mouth. We all know that a rudder steers a ship. The direction of the rudder determines where the ship will go. In the same way, the horse will always follow its’ mouth. The direction of the head is where the horse will go. The tongue is like the rudder of the ship and the bit in the horses’ mouth. How we us it will give direction to our life. We can go either in the way of life or the way of death. What do we do with a ship and a horse illustrates what should be done with our tongue. With the ship we fasten the rudder to the captains wheel and with the horse we put a bit and a bridle in its’ mouth. By doing this we can change the course of the situation. In the case of the ship we can steer clear of an oncoming obstacle and deliver the cargo safe and sound. With the horse we can rope calves, barrel race and accomplish lots of work simply by controlling one part of its’ body.
“…If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2 (KJV
By putting a bridle on a horse we actually bridle the whole horse. By connecting the rudder to the captain’s wheel we in effect control the whole ship. By putting a bridle on our tongue we literally control the whole person. In the case of the horse, when we teach it to submit to the bridle, the horse becomes valuable. With the ship it too has purpose and value. With you and I the same is true. When the tongue has a bridle placed upon it, the value and usefulness of the person is greatly increased. Life takes a turn for the better when we understand the power of the tongue and begin to use it for our benefit.
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 (KJV)
Want to stay out of trouble? Watch what you say. I know this sounds simplistic and easier said than done. Let’s not look at how we can do this right now however; let’s look at the results of doing it first. When a bridle is placed on our mouth good things begin to happen almost immediately. This is because people will respond to you differently. When you say cutting and hurting words to others the result will often be trouble. When your words are spoken with grace or kindness the opposite effect will usually take place. In fact, sometimes just saying nothing at all can be a tremendous blessing to you.
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:28 (KJV)
How true it is! We look wise when we control that little red devil behind the white pearly gates. Once he gets out, the troubles start almost immediately.
Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back? Why did you say it in the first place?
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Psalm 32:9 (KJV)
There is a bridle for the tongue that is not controlled by a hard master. The master of the good tongue is Jesus Christ. The secret in controlling your tongue is in understanding what motivates the tongue. The plot thickens.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34 (KJV)
The real issue is the condition of the heart. When the heart is angry, the tongue speaks words of anger. When the heart is happy words of happiness come out. So then, the answer to the problem of controlling the heart is a change of the heart. This cannot be done by oneself it must be done by God himself. Doing what is right from the heart can only be accomplished when the heart is right. The heart becomes right when God makes it right through a spiritual touch of his Spirit.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10 (KJV)
When God touches the heart it is changed. Where there used to be anger, now there is love.
“…because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5 (KJV)
When God touches the heart, the tongue becomes bridled by Gods’ Spirit. When he comes into your life, all of his positive attributes dominate and begin to rule the lower attributes of the flesh. Jesus spoke of his Spirit as living water that cleanses and purifies from the inside out. This spiritual experience takes away the fleshly heart and replaces it with a godly, spiritual heart. At the moment this takes place, the power of the tongue is changed from destructive to constructive. It is amazing how fast life becomes better when the tongue is bridled by his presence. The Bible records this experience of change in Acts 2. When the disciples of Jesus received a change of heart through the baptism of the Spirit of God, they spoke in other tongues.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4 (KJV)
The power that went through them is for all people who want a change of their heart from the inside.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:38-39 (KJV)
The witness of the Apostles touched many people because they had truly been changed on the inside. The good news is this experience is for us today!
Would you like to experience an inward change of heart? Would you like to experience the baptism of the Spirit of God?
No man can tame his tongue and therefore needs a power to help him bridle it. When the tongue is bridled it becomes a tool that brings life. An unbridled tongue causes death and destruction, yet there is a way to have freedom from a destructive tongue. On the other hand, there is a way to have life abundantly through the power of the tongue. Jesus Christ is that answer. If you are struggling in this area we would like to help. Simply let me know and someone will get with you as soon as possible. You are not alone in this situation.
Thanks again for taking the time to go through this lesson. I hope it has been a blessing to you. If it has, please let me know, it would be a great source of encouragement. Check back often for we are always adding new studies for you to consider. See you soon!
Focus on Freedom
“Becoming Successful.” This lesson deals with true success and how to achieve it! With that said, let’s get started!