One of the things that I like the best about my dog is that she is still a little bit wild. Sure, I have taught her how to sit, stay, and a few other standard dog commands. But she still keeps that untamed nature. I have tried my hardest to train her out of things, like getting up on the dinning room table and falling asleep, but she keeps doing it. No matter how hard I try, there will always be this aspect of her that is wild and untamed. She is the dog that wandered the street until she picked up and given to a lucky owner. I may be able temporarily control her, but I don’t think she will ever fully be tamed.
Our tongues and the words we use as similar. We may be able to control them for a time, but we cannot tame them. We do crazy things to try and filter our thoughts and not say the word we are thinking, but there is a bigger issue at stake. As people try and give up cursing, for example, they often put replacement words where the swear words would normally be. Yet the bigger issue is that the heart behind the words still hasn’t changed. The anger in our hearts is still expressing itself in whatever verbal form it takes. James in chapter 3 of his letter, continues his discourse on the words we use.
“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. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:7-10 NIV
James makes it abundantly clear that the tongue is not a thing that we, as people, are able to tame. Our tongue is not a wild stallion waiting to be broken and then becoming a tame racing horse. Our tongues are simply just wild stallions. Much worse, we cannot tame our tongue. As hard as we will try, when we work on our own strength, the tongue will remain a wild beast. Yet this doesn’t mean it is okay to just say whatever because we can’t tame the tongue. In order to reign in our words, we must first know where our words come from and then how to redeem them.
Words Come from Our Heart
The problem of our words being unable to be tamed is that they flow from the heart. Our heart, on its own, is deceitful. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV). Our words are the output of the things we stir up and strengthen in our heart. Whatever we dwell on in our hearts will ultimately spill out and be expressed by our words. At the heart of the human condition is, frankly, the heart. In our hearts, we want what is contrary to God because of our desire for personal gain.
Yet, if the only was to eternity and everlasting is through Christ who teaches us to die to ourselves, then our heart and what is expressed through our words must first be put to death in order to come alive to the will of Christ. Our words, unfiltered, show our fleshly nature until they are redeemed by the King of Kings. When we consider the words we speak, we should first look to the heart.
Surrender our Heart to Christ
Whatever we say is the outpouring of what we think. The words we speak can only be fully pleasing when our heart is fully surrendered to God. No man is able to tame the tongue. The only cure for the wickedness that comes from the tongue is to surrender our hearts to Christ. Words from a heart fully surrendered to Christ, flow with the grace and love of God. Our words are a vessel of the life changing power that has transformed our hearts. We may not be able to tame our words, but God is the Sovereign Ruler, the Great High King, who has conquered all things. Before we speak, seek the Lord.
Questions for Thought
Where in your life do you see evidence that your words are a product of your heart? What challenges do you face in looking to conquer your words? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.