Devotional 2 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.
In our first Impact Directive Devotional, we talked about the independence of our tongues. We learned that our tongue is the only muscle in our body that works independently of our skeleton, and we looked at how our speech can sometimes seem fiercely independent of our minds. Our tongues, as our devotional Bible passage points out, are not easily tamed.
In our second devotional in this series, we’re talking 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.
When we wield the power in our tongues, we can either build people up or tear them down, including ourselves. Words, as James explains in our Bible passage, are capable of great destruction. They are small, but they are mighty. They are like the small spark that sets the whole forest on fire (verse 5). We should give pause to the great power that our tongues can produce through the words that we choose to use.
That power doesn’t have to be destructive, however. Even though James is warning us in this passage that we are innately set toward evil, we can absolutely choose to do good, to speak life. It takes attention and restraint. More than likely, the world will not give us this same courtesy. Ugly and dishonorable things are likely to come hurling at us. How will we respond?
Without overlooking the power that rests within us, let’s agree to seek kindness, gentleness, compassion, understanding, and restraint. Let’s seek to harness the power of our tongues to do good. It’s a hard job. Are you willing?
This week, let’s contemplate just how powerful we are because of our ability to speak. Are we striving to use our power for good? What more might we do to reign in our tongues and drive ourselves and others toward consistently honorable communication?
In our third devotional in two weeks, we are going to explore the unique imprint that our tongues have and how that correlates to our unique imprint on the world. Be sure to join us to wrap up your lessons on the tongue.
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.