Watch Your Mouth (3:1-13)
Many times young people will be told to “watch your mouth” when they say something they should not or when they talk back to their parents or authorities. On the same note, James tells us in chapter 3 to keep a close eye on our tongue. Listen to the harsh language used to describe it: “And t he tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…” This same verse continues, “…and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” Wow! what a description of a small member of our bodies.
The beginning of the chapter speaks of us offending the law (as we looked at a few days ago.) However, we are told that if we can control our mouth’s, then we are complete and mature. The comparison is then made of bridles and bits used on a horse to control it’s movements.
There are two ways of looking at this comparison:
- First, that we, like the horse, are going to be controlled by what is in our mouth.
- And second, that we can control our mouth just as we control the horse by what is in it’s mouth.
Personally, I want the second. I want to be in control of my mouth, not let my mouth control me.
Further examples are given in verses 9-12. Notice, we curse and bless out of the same mouth. This phenomenon is compared to a fountain where sweet and bitter waters are both found. Also comparing it to a fig tree that bears olive berries and a vine that bears figs. And lastly, compared to a fountain that brings forth salt and fresh waters. When looking at these examples, we can clearly see that the tongue is a special thing. It can praise certain people while cursing others. It can build up and destroy within the same sentence. It can praise God while gossiping about people.
I encourage you, take notice of the way you use your tongue. Use it for praise, for building up, and for encouraging. Control your tongue and don’t be controlled by it.