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  • Shawn Thornton

Oh, Be Careful Little Tongue

Thursday - January 21st

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 1:26-27


Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

James 1:26

One of the songs I remember the most from my early years in church as a kid was a simple song. The lyrics were basic. You inserted eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet as the central focus of each stanza and inserted what each body part does. Everything else stayed the same. Here is the song:

Oh, be careful little tongue, what you say

Oh, be careful little tongue, what you say

For the Father up above

is looking down in love

Oh, be careful little tongue, what you say

Here is a dated video on YouTube with kids singing the song - if you want the song's full feel. Warning: You might get the little jingle stuck in your head!

As a little kid, the sing-song nature of the tune probably caught my attention more than anything. As I became an adult and began to sing it with my own children, the song took on such profound meaning. While it can be overplayed by making our God into some sort of harsh god ready to clobber us for stepping out of line in any way, it does speak of our accountability to the God who made us and loves us.

The song reminds us that we can easily see, hear, say or do the things that don't please or honor Him. We can go places that lead us into more sin. Even now, as a grown man, it's healthy for me to recognize each area of my life that Satan can use to tempt or lead me astray. We can easily forget that he tries to tempt us through our eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet.

The line, "Oh, be careful," speaks volumes of the importance of being ready for temptation before it comes. We should be prepared and be careful not to be lead down a path of temptation and sin. We cannot be naive regarding how our witness for Christ can be ruined quickly when we lack alertness about how Satan seduces us.

James 1:26 says that when we lack control of our tongues and say we are religious, people see right through that. We ultimately are the only ones being deceived. We are the only ones who see ourselves as serious about God. Others heard what our tongues said and concluded someone who cusses, gossips, lies, or belittles with their tongue like that cannot be genuinely religious.

How we speak and the words we use say more about us to others than any other thing. We need to understand the damage our tongues can do to others and our testimony for the Lord. We can't say we are committed followers of Christ and then betray that commitment by saying things that don't reflect that devotion to Him.

Oh, be careful little tongue, what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love!


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