3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. - James 3:3-4
Controlling the tongue means both silencing it when necessary, as well as speaking gracious words that build others up whenever possible. It is putting off harsh words filled with bitterness, anger, and jealousy that lead to dissension and division, and it is putting on words that demonstrate love, gentleness, kindness, are full of grace and mercy, and bring about peace and harmony. The words we are to speak are fruit of the Spirit that lives inside of us - they are not from our own power, but of His. Left in our own power, our words are self-focused and sinful, but when we allow the Spirit to move in us, our words spread His love and build His Kingdom.
No one is in control of their tongue, not entirely. Our goal is to pursue perfection, seeking always to honor Him with our words. But this is a battle that must be waged daily, hourly, even minute by minute. The spiritual battle that exists in our hearts is evidenced by our tongue. What comes out of our mouths demonstrated who is currently winning the war.
To illustrate the power that the tongue wields, James uses two illustrations that would have been understandable to his audience at the time, but are still easily understandable to us. A bit is place in a horse’s mouth to direct its path. Though it is a very small piece, the rider can use it to control the enormous power and energy of a horse.
Just as enormous, were the ships of that time. Some ships could hold hundreds or even a thousand men, but these great ships are directed by a very small rudder. They are so great in size that they take many men to tow and move, but only one to direct. Even the slightest shift in rudder can change the path of massive ship and its thousands of passengers.
The tongue carries that same power within our bodies, and moves the direction of our entire bodies. It is indicative of the war that is being waged on our hearts. Just as the bits and the rudders, it’s small size isn’t in proportion to the power it wields. Be in prayer consistently that your words would further the kingdom of God but building others up.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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