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  • Shawn Thornton

Holding Your Tongue

Monday - February 8th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 3:1-12

If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

James 3:2 NLT


Christian music artist Steve Green made an album of children’s music in 1990 titled “Hide ‘Em in Your Heart.” One of the songs, “Keep Your Tongue from Evil,“ was based on Psalm 34:13, which says: “Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” Both on the CD and Video versions of the song, Green and the kids singing with him physically held their tongues while singing. Or at least they tried to hold their tongues.

Attempting to hold your tongue while singing as a kid adds an element of fun and produces many giggles. But it also becomes a vivid reminder of how hard it is to keep our tongues from getting us in trouble. The tongue is slippery and hard to grab physically, but it is also hard to control what comes from it verbally. We’ve all gotten in trouble by saying things that were not helpful to us or others. We know what it means to lose control of what we say and how we say it.

Throughout the Book of James, there is an emphasis on how hard it is to control what we say. In the second verse of chapter three, James states his concern succinctly, “If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” The key to self-control is our ability to tame the tongue. James even suggests we could live a perfect life if we got ahold of our words.

Maybe you can identify with how slippery and hard it is to control your tongue. With clean fingers, try physically to grab your tongue and hold your grip on it for one minute. It is nearly impossible to do so.

Similarly, it is nearly impossible to control the words we use and how we use them. If we could, our lives would be so much easier. They would also bless others continually.

How long has it been since your tongue has gotten you in trouble? When did you last say something that hurt someone you love? When did you last share some gossip you just couldn’t keep to yourself? When was it you last let a few foul words fly because of frustration or anger?

Confess that last time you didn’t control your tongue to the Lord. Ask God to give you victory over the words you say that hurt others or misrepresent Him. Ask Him to help you think about what you are about to say before letting the words fly out of your mouth.

God says that when we can control our tongues, we can control the rest of us. Holding your tongue is that important!


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