Our words are powerful and that is the idea that the Word of God teaches us in the book of proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Which fruit are we set to eat? The power of life or the power of death. Our words are so powerful they can be used to kill or give life. In the same vein that our words can encourage or discourage someone, so also it can cause deep trouble for the speaker. Proverbs 21:23 says “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” We can avoid a whole lot of calamities for ourselves when we watch our tongues. While not condoning violence, one can easily conclude that the commotion that happened at the Oscars was instigated by words of mouth. James (3:6) calls the tongue a fire and a world of evil among the body parts. It corrupts the whole body. There is no gain saying that whatever we can do to curb the excesses of the tongue must be done. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” When we allow our tongue to be corrupt by speaking evil, we also become invariably evil. We must tame our tongues. We must control our words.
As desirable as it is to tame the tongue, the Bible tells us that it is not an easy task. “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” – James 3:7-8. This is to say that without the grace of God it is difficult to tame one’s tongue. We must begin by surrendering our hearts and our whole being completely to God. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” – Matthew 15:19. If we must tame our tongues we must then first and foremost surrender our hearts to God. It is by so doing that we can guard our hearts with the peace that only God gives. Our best efforts will not cut, but our total surrender to the God of all creation will do it. We must learn to dedicate our heart, our mind, and our tongue to the Lord in total surrender.
We must also practice speaking edifying words. We must pray that God himself will make us consciously aware of the words we speak, so we can make the efforts to speak right all the time. The Word of God says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” – Ephesians 4:29. You know that story about a man who owns two wolves that are always fighting. The question is, which wolf wins? “The one that is fed”. The power of the tongue to subdue and destroy can be tamed if we refuse to feed it, while the power of the tongue to uplift and edify can be strengthened by feeding it. God has given us the freedom to choose between good and evil. When we follow Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippian Church in Philippians 4:8, choosing to think of things that are true, things that are noble, things that are right, things that are pure, things that are lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy and then verbalize those things, we are making conscious efforts to feed the power of the tongue to uplift. Philippians 4:9 says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Whenever we put into practice the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, which Apostle Paul also embraced, we are feeding the power of good in us, and when we verbalize them, we are feeding the power of good in our tongue.
My brothers and sisters, there is nothing that is too hard for God to do. Taming our tongues begin with trusting God as a change agent and surrendering our hearts and mind to Him. We get better at it by making sure we pray and stay focused so we do not get distracted by the enemy. Whenever we must say things that are important and can affect other people, always THINK about it first. T – is it True? H – is it Helpful? I – is it Inspiring? N – is it Necessary? K – is it Kind? “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” – Colossians 4:6. Remember also that “when words are many, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” – Proverbs 10:19. May the good Lord help us to restrain our tongues.
April 3rd, 2022 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya