Taming the Tongue

Ever leave an aggravating situation and think of a hundred really good insults you could have hurled at them? You replay the situation over in your mind, each time thinking of a better… and better …way to verbally punch them in the gut. You may have left the situation defeated, but in your car on the way home, You. Were. Victorious.

Yeah, I’ve done that too. But the truth is, like we studied this week, it’s not a weakness to respond in grace. And keep in mind, we’re not talking about merely not knowing what to say – we often can easily tap into the right words to win an argument, right? But think about it, is that really how we are to respond?


Quite the opposite, James reminds us how powerful our words are. Like an 8 ounce bit can guide a 1,000 pound horse, our tongue can lead our whole person into territories that are life-giving …or that are life-damaging.


I think as women, we are even more susceptible to this. How easily our mouths can open. Things we don’t even mean to say can come barreling through our lips when an opportune moment arises.

So, how on earth can we control this object? This thing that can speak, guide and control our very beings?

Reference back to Luke 6:45

For out of the overflow of his heart the mouth speaks.


It’s true though. What’s in your heart will ooze out into your speech.

Junk in? Junk out. Purity in? Purity out.

…Which guides us RIGHT into the next section of James Three: Verses 13-18

If you have godly wisdom inside, it will bubble out with honor, doing good, a humble heart. But, if there is bitterness, jealousy and selfish ambition? “There you will find disorder and evil of every kind. (v. 16)”

I find that personally, most of my sins root from this very issue. My sins don’t sprout of of wisdom and godly intentions. No, my sins root from seeds of bitterness, jealousy and selfishness.

A wise man, this James guy.

So what’s the opposite of a junky heart? Godly wisdom. What does that look like?

It’s PURE, first of all. Then, it is peace-loving, gentle, willing to yield to others.

It is full mercy, and full of good deeds.

And those who are peace makers? They will plant their seeds. And they will reap a harvest of righteousness.

What a black and white contrast.

Which do you want to be? How can you get there? What did this week’s passage teach you?


6 thoughts on “Taming the Tongue

  1. Bre’anna … for me it is holding my tongue when I know what I have to say is right but when it is just not the right time or the right way to say it. Speaking truth even has to be held until it can be delivered and received in the way it will benefit all.
    I have said truthful (but hurtful) things to our wayward daughter in the past. They were not meant to hurt but did because she was not ready to face the truth. They say some people have to reach the very bottom of their pit to have a desire to come out. I see her life as way beyond that bottom but I now feel she is blinded to the destroyer in her life. I now just hold all comments because I know even the truth meant in love from me will be misinterpreted. So for now her dad deals with any communication with her. She seems to be more open to his words. So learning to say NOTHING has been my challenge for now.

  2. James 3 in general is so convicting! Controlling our words is something that is very hard to do. I find it extremely hard when I am up against non-believers or assertive people. Which proves that I am still weak and still a sinner. Since I am a people pleaser, and would rather not be confrontational, I still am working through how I am only to be pleasing to the Lord.
    Here’s a simple confession to my James Study Ladies, I was hurt by my sister-in-law, years ago. I hold bitterness and anger towards her. I try to please her, but it fails. I am tired of it. She does not know the Lord. I ask God to forgive me daily for these feelings I have towards her. I pray for her daily. But I am still weak. My tongue goes on a rampage and I hurt and I know God does too. I have been thinking and praying over the last two verses in James 3. Help me be a peacemaker.
    Bre’anna, I loved your statement of “Junk In? Junk out. Purity in? Purity out.” I want to better filter my thoughts and heart. Allowing God’s words to take away the junk and sealing it with clean pure feelings.
    Praying for you all! Have a wonderful weekend! Excited to dive into James 4.

  3. This week’s lesson has taken me back in time…through years of my life, learning from The Great ‘I AM’. You did an excellent job illustrating these truths from James 3, Bre’anna!

    Today, I am convicted, every time my mouth opens and harshness or ugliness spews, though this hasn’t always been the case! I used to revel in sheer delight at my ‘amazing’ abilities in the ‘art’ of debate…which many times quickly turned into annihilation by use of my greatest weapon, my TONGUE! Quick-witted and able to verbally pounce on my perceived ‘enemy’ with seemingly incomprehensible ease…soooo proud back then, proud that I could ‘win’ any argument, anywhere, anytime. I think back to when I entered nursing school, my Daddy thought I had “missed my calling” — he always said I’d make an “excellent attorney”. What a compliment…or was it???

    Slowly, the heavy scales of worldly power and influence have fallen from my eyes and the thing I find most amazing is how God, in His perfect timing knows ‘just’ how to mould our hearts (the Great Potter with His malleable clay). Today, I’m not only convicted when my mouth spews I am downright DISGUSTED, using something God created for His praise and glory, using this beautiful tool that should encourage and lift His children on high for something other than The Designer’s intent!

    But He didn’t stop with just my tongue (and I imagine He “ain’t done with me yet”)…my mind and thoughts are also now “fair game” for His Holy Spirit’s transforming powers — He’s teaching me that my thoughts are a “powerhouse” too, teaching me that this energy law of His has great endowment and virtue…the qualification to build up and encourage and also the power to tear down and destroy — ever-so gently, patiently and with great kindness — He indeed is sweetly loving on my heart.

    I am reminded often by His Holy Spirit…”Tracie, get your heart in check and the rest will follow…” And my heart replies, “But, how my Lord, how do I change the way I was taught to relate to this world?” and He freely replies, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…”

    How I wish my Daddy were alive today so I could show him what “real” power is, power in and through The Holy Spirit…the POWER to act justly and to love mercy and to walk HUMBLY with your God.

    Can you imagine growing up with Jesus? I think of that every time I read from His brother, James’ book and the wisdom that was imparted to him. Now, I seek daily to “grow up” IN Jesus as well. I thank Him that 2000 years ago He literally walked with His brother and imparted wisdom, truth, grace, mercy and love and yet even still, today, He does the very same with me (a filthy, non-Jew, female sinner like me!). What?? This can’t be — The God of The Universe, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob relates to ME intimately and personally?? Yet, I remain – evidence of this truth.

    I am HUMBLED, AWE-STRUCK in fact by His perfect, loving and very personal design. Thank You Jesus for not being some distant thought of righteousness, some impersonal ‘god’ to be feared for eternal damnation but THE GOD of my heart, the very Lover of my Soul…very real, very personal, sweet and tender, The God Who calls me “Friend”.

    You alone are worthy, Father. Might I look in the mirror of life daily and all the more see Your reflection – Your perfect, pleasing and beautiful reflection…

  4. Taming the tongue. Oh that is a tough one!! I think I have every single verse in my Bible underlined regarding that! I have learned to really keep those feelings inside instead of letting them out but the problem now is hanging onto the feelings. I might not have said something out loud but I still carry the feeling with me. And that leads to unforgiveness. So I’m going to go back and read more James this week. Thanks so much for this!

  5. The last couple of weeks for my family have been crazy and late nights. Sorry for not posting last week…. let’s just say fleas and bats decided to make our home their home and it took a good week to get the situation under control. We just moved to GA last year… we are from the dessert… we are definitely not use to all these critters. 🙂

    Anyhoo.. I have kept up with the reading in my times with the Lord and I love having the accountability! In James 3 I was challenged of how I respond to my children. Some days are just hard to keep my tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit with 3 children under 2 1/2. I am way beyond blessed and having three young children is not an excuse to why I respond the way I do throughout the day. I am memorizing James 3:4-5. Even though my tongue is a very small part of my body it makes a huge impact in my home just like the ship is directed by a small rudder. When I encourage, love and and respect my children with my words it creates an environment for them to grow and learn about the Lord. I, as a wife and mom create the environment of my home. I desire my home to be a place of love, safety, truth and conviction. Having my dishes done or my carpet vacuumed will not create that kind of home. 🙂 My tongue, my words play a huge part in that.

    As I write that I am convicted!

    This week when my 5 month old gets up in the morning before her brothers do I am going to spend that time with the Lord. Oh how easy it is to crawl back into my bed and just lay there. If I want my words to be HIS words this week I must go to HIM and HIM alone. I have been convicted to passionately pursue God speaking into my life. 1 Peter 2:2, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”


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