WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 25, 2021
TOPIC: BEWARE OF THE DANGER OF AN UNCONTROLLED TONGUE!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6 New King James Version).
In James 3, the apostle James deals with a very important subject, which Christians and non-Christians are often guilty of. It is the danger of an uncontrolled tongue. The apostle James says, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2 New King James Version).
This tells us that everyone is at the risk of not controlling his tongue. James says we all stumble in many things including in words. The King James Version says, “we offend all.” The Greek word translated offend is ptaio, which means to trip, i.e. (figuratively) to err, sin, fail (of salvation) (Strong’s Concordance). We all trip, err, sin, or fail in many things, including in the use of the tongue. James says if anyone does not stumble in words, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
James describes the tongue as a small member of our body, which boasts great things (James 3:5). He says just as a tiny spark can set a forest on fire, so the tongue is a flame of fire, which can set on fire a whole life. Fire is good but uncontrolled fire is dangerous. It can wreak havoc. The tongue is not evil but an uncontrolled tongue is dangerous. It can cause enormous damage.
The apostle James puts it this way: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6 New King James Version).
He continues: “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (verses 7-12 New King James Version).
The tongue we use to bless is the same tongue we use to curse and the apostle James says this should not be so. Although people can tame every kind of beast, bird, and reptile, and creature of the sea, nobody can tame the tongue. It is full of deadly poison. It can only be controlled or tamed by the Holy Spirit, not by human power.
Self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). When the Holy Spirit controls someone’s life, he will be able to control his tongue so that he will not poison his life and the lives of others. He will not ruin his life and that of others. Lack of self-control can lead one to sin as one easily falls into temptation. What is true of lack of self-control with regard to sexual immorality is also true of the uncontrolled tongue (1 Corinthians 7:5, 9).
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue! Don’t set your life or the lives of others on fire. “And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself” (James 3:6 New Living Translation).
The ability to control one’s tongue is a mark of spiritual maturity. The apostle James says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 New King James Version). The New Living Translation says, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue. Don’t say what you’re not supposed to say just because you’re provoked, careless, or trying to impress or please another person or other persons. Exercise self-control in the use of your tongue. Someone said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” The Bible says, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19 New King James Version).
Control your tongue. Jesus says, “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22 New King James Version). This is the danger of an uncontrolled tongue.
Don’t play to the gallery and speak unadvisedly just to please those who are applauding you. You could regret it later and be seeking forgiveness. Think before you speak, not the other way round. “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking” (Proverbs 29:20 New Living Translation). The New King James Version says, “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue. Jesus says, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37 New King James Version). Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (New King James Version).
Quoting Psalm 34:12-14, the apostle Peter says, “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:10-11 New King James Version).
Yield to the Holy Spirit and exercise self-control in the use of your tongue. Proverbs 16:32b says he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city. “It is better to have self-control than to conquer a city” (Proverbs 16:32b New Living Translation). Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (New King James Version). In other words, “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” (New Living Translation).
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue. In Numbers 20:1-13, Moses didn’t control his tongue when he spoke to the Israelites to bring them water from the rock as God had commanded him. He said, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Verse 10 New King James Version). Instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it twice with his rod.
Although water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank, God was displeased with him. He said because he did not believe Him, to hallow Him in the eyes of the Israelites, he would not bring them into the Promised Land (verse 12). This incident terminated the ministry of Moses and Aaron. They didn’t enter the Promised Land.
David ordered the execution of the Amalekite, who claimed to have killed Saul. He told him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed’” (2 Samuel 1:16 New King James Version).
David did the same thing to Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, who stabbed the king of Israel, Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, to death in his house. They brought his head to David at Hebron, telling him the LORD had avenged David of Saul and his descendants. But David commanded his young men to execute them. They executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hung their bodies by the pool in Hebron (2 Samuel 4:5-12).
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue. Before David died, he told his successor, Solomon, his son, to arrange a bloody death for Shimei (1 Kings 2:8-9). Shimei had cursed David with a malicious curse after he had fled Jerusalem following Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 16:5-13). Shimei never thought David would return to the throne.
However, after Absalom’s rebellion was defeated, Shimei met David on his way back to Jerusalem and begged for forgiveness (2 Samuel 19:18-23). David forgave him, but he didn’t forget. Later, Solomon killed Shimei when he disobeyed his command never to go out of Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:36-46).
Also, the unguarded utterance of the men of Succoth and Peniel who mocked Gideon when he asked them for bread for his weary men led to their punishment. After he had captured Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, over whom he was mocked, he punished the men of Succoth and Peniel with thorns and briers from the wilderness. He also tore down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the city (Judges 8:4-17).
Beware of the danger of uncontrolled tongue. Yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit. Be controlled by the Holy Spirit, not your emotions. Don’t speak unadvisedly. Avoid unguarded utterances.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for the uncontrolled use of my tongue in the past. Holy Spirit, help me to develop self-control so that I will no longer trip, err, sin, or fail in the use of my tongue due to provocation, carelessness, or trying to please people. Help me to be a perfect or mature man who does not stumble in words.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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