Words can be blessings or weapons in any human relationship we have.
Isn’t that why communication is so tricky?
We can be blunt or beat around the bush. We can send daggers with insults or refreshing rain with compliments. We can gossip about a coworker and then greet them at the blink of an eye.
James explains this dilemma well:
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing…” James 3:10
James goes on to say, however, that a Christian’s talk should not have this duality or hypocrisy.
“My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (v. 11-12)
He challenges us to earnestly grow in speaking grace, truth, and life, because it’s critical to our identity as Christians.
Our speech is inseparable from the highest commands to love God and love our neighbor as ourself – to serve our husband, children, friends, and strangers.
Beyond James Scripture has SO much to say on this topic, because edifying conversation only blooms from a redeemed and God-fearing heart. (I wish I could list all the verses, maybe for another post!)
As Jesus explained:
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Our words expose the hidden, deeper spiritual battle inside.
What we say reveals what’s currently dominating us – the righteousness of Christ or the sinfulness of our flesh.A strong barometer of faith is the nature of our speech - whether we build up or tear down. Click To Tweet
God’s Solution for A Loose Tongue
Many of us know the power of words, but we struggle to use their power for good.
What can we do to nurture, as Proverbs says, “the mouth of the righteous”? How can we submit to the Spirit to zip our lips?
We have to confront evil thoughts with God’s truth. Our outward speech can only be changed by inward renewal.
One issue I’ve wrestled with is venting my spirit – or pouring out complaint, discontent, or frustration without reserve.
I’ll never forget when I read this verse: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.’ Proverbs 29:11
Whoa. The Word never fails to call us out!
The Spirit not only uses this verse to pause and check me before an outburst, but to prod my heart into prayer: Lord, may I be a woman of wisdom, finding joy in You and holding back when my thoughts are not helpful.
That second step of prayer is pivotal.
We read many resources with verses about taming the tongue, but then we move on. But what could happen if you took them to the Lord on your knees?
After being a Christian for years, I’m finally starting to grasp the beauty of meeting with Him in a prayer closet day by day. I regret not doing this sooner.
As I pray with purpose and with His Word, I experience His realness, His closeness, His holiness as the Almighty God who bends His ear to hear. Of all things I do as a believer, prayer is becoming the most incredible way to attune my spirit to worship and obedience.
By going to Him faithfully, I’m reminded Who I’m living for and why. Peace guards my mind and the desire to honor Him guards my heart.
So when it comes to spiritual growth, like taming the tongue, I’m learning a key way to grow is to ask God for help with His own pure words. Want to join me?
Here are Scriptures to petition the Lord with.
Pray these verses word for word:
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Keep [my] tongue from evil and [my] lips from speaking deceit. Psalm 34:13
Pray these verses in your own words:
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26
i.e. Lord, may I speak out of a heart of wisdom. Show me how to share Your truth with kindness.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
Heavenly Father, may I share gracious words that sweeten my (husband’s, child’s, coworker’s, etc.) day.
The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 10:11
God, grow me in righteousness, that I may become more like Christ and give words of encouragement and hope.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Lord, nurture self-control in my heart so that I may respond with patience and grace in arguments or tough conversations.
If you’re really struggling in this area, remember the full forgiveness you have in Christ. Confess to Him daily, or even in the moment when poor or angry words slip out. Then, ask for forgiveness from who you spoke to.
Don’t forget: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 19
Also be sure to download the FREE verse cards to pray with by subscribing and gaining access to my faith-filled Freebie Library below! I know God will work, as you seek Him with a humble heart.
Remember that we can’t speak life into others without abiding daily in the Author of life.
Our mind has to be renewed day by day through soaking up God’s flawless Word (Romans 12:1).
In its diverse set of testimonies and truths, the Bible reminds us that we don’t live for ourselves anymore, but for the Kingdom of God.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15In order to control our tongues, Christ's love must control us. Click To Tweet
In His Love,