Like who knew when I asked my web browser to give me information about our tongues that so much stuff would pop up. Y’all a lot of ink (digital code) has been spilled to talk about these little critters.
- Research on size and function and diseases.
- People listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest tongues. (What the heck. It’s a tongue.)
- Pages of fun facts.
- Pages of scientifically technical information.
There’s some intriguing depth here (trust me on this), so we’re going to spread our “tongue” devotionals (previously blog posts) out over three posts.
You might be thinking, “Devotionals? You’re talking about tongues.” But, yes.
How the Bible Fits In
There’s another great source of information about our tongues that didn’t come up right away when I asked my web browser to give me information about our tongues…the Bible. But the Bible has an awful lot to say about our tongues. There’s no technical information in the Bible about how the tongue works or how long on average our tongues are.
God is concerned not with the physical nature of our tongues but with what they reveal about us. That’s because he thinks our physical forms are beautiful. They are made in His image. But he knows that our insides (our “leb” in Hebrew) are not beautiful. They are broken. They need our attention.
What We Will Cover
In our first devotional, we’ll talk about the independence of our tongues. The tongue can move in a myriad of ways, and multiple muscle strands make it up—eight to be exact. Here is a really fun fact…the tongue is the only muscle in your body that works independently of your skeleton. That little sucker is fiercely independent.
In our second devotional, we’ll talk about the fact that our tongues have power. Had you heard that the tongue was the strongest muscle by size in the body? Yeah. Well, research says that that little fun fact isn’t true. But you don’t need to be the strongest to have a powerful impact on everything around you.
And here is a super interesting fact. Your tongue print is as unique as your finger print. Hmmm. So we can be uniquely identified by our tongues. This has so much application. In our third devotional, we’re going to take a look at our uniqueness and how our tongues can play a part in how we show up in the world.
So let’s get started.
Devotional 1 of 3
James 3:3-12 New International Version (NIV)
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
So the tongue it seems is a myriad of 8 separate muscles that weave together to do some amazing things for us. As an organ, our tongues help us eat, speak, breathe, taste, and more. But the interesting thing about this muscular organ is that it’s the only muscle in our bodies that works independently of our skeleton. All of our other muscles require the skeletal system to function, but not the tongue. It’s fiercely independent, and, when it comes to what we say, it often seems to have a mind of its own. Would you agree?
The Biblical writer James sure understood this fierce independence, didn’t he? In our devotional passage for today, James is speaking to Jews who wished to teach the Gospel to others. He is warning them of the great responsibility for others’ spiritual lives that one takes on with such a role. But God is also speaking to us today through these wise words of James.
James asserts that “no human being can tame the tongue.” He cautions that it is “a restless evil” and thereby asserts the idea that the tongue has an independence of its own. Often we say things before we have had a chance to think them through. Our subconscious (much less logical) brains take over, and we speak seemingly independent of our more rational and logical minds. Those knee-jerk responses or less-than-thought-out replies can and often do cause strife in our lives, and they can bring destruction in our lives and in the lives of others.
Think about just one of your days. Consider just how much “talking” is going on.
We think we need to say something. We feel compelled to let the other person know what he or she said was wrong or insulting. “Surely,” we think, “I have to let them know.” We don’t want anyone to get away with dishonorable or disrespectful stuff. We just want to be a part of what’s happening and to add what we know to the discussion.
If you’ve ever stuck your foot in your mouth (not literally), and I know that I am not alone here, you know the independence of the tongue.
So this week, let’s consider just how independent we allow our tongues to be. Are we attempting to take control of this “evil”? What are we doing to insure that we are at least trying.
Until next time…
Connie Benoit Sirois
Author | Speaker | Trainer
We are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.
Find out how to increase your ability to have a positive impact on others, even when situations and people are negative.