Lately, I have been heavily mediating on the power of one’s tongue. It amazes me how something so small has such great power. But, before I get to the “meat” of this post, allow me to share this disclaimer:
I am not a master at controlling my tongue. I, too, fail (more often than I would like to admit) at bridling this influential muscle. If you were to look at my bathroom mirror, you would see this verse written on it:
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19 ESV
I have this on my mirror because I need a CONSTANT reminder to be a wife and mom who is “quick to hear” “slow to speak” and “slow to anger”. So, please don’t think I am awesome at this, because I am not. Just like you, I am on a journey of growing in the likeness of Jesus. And as we grow in holiness, the hope is that we struggle less and conquer more. Will we ever be perfect? No! But with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be a person who uses our tongue to encourage and to speak life more than we use it to tear down and destroy.
Ok…let’s get to the “meat”, shall we…
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.” James 3:3-5 ESV
James gives us these two illustrations (horse and ship) to help us understand that size does not always equal influence and power. While the tongue may be small, it has the power and influence to bring forth death or life (Proverbs 18:21).
I am sure you have heard the quote, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. While it may be a funny saying, there is actually a lot of truth behind it.
Speaking as a mom of four kids, I can tell you that my words do, in fact, set the tone for our day. If I am spewing out negativity and hurt, our home environment ain’t too happy. But if I am speaking encouragement and positivity over my children, our environment is more likely to be one of happiness and joy. The words I choose to speak in my home have the power to control the entire course of the day. Wow!
Bottom line, our words make an impact and they matter greatly.
But how do we become someone who is a life-giver rather than a life-sucker?
Here are a few things I have found to be helpful:
- Be in the Word– The Bible is life-giving. So if we are to be life givers we must read the Bible. The more we immerse ourselves in the Word, the more those words take root, thus, pouring out into our homes, workplaces, churches and every other environment in which we find ourselves in.
- Use visual aids– I mentioned earlier that I need visual aids to serve as a reminder to control my tongue. For me, this mostly looks like Bible verses written throughout my home as it is the place where I spend most of time. When I see these reminders, it prompts me to use my words to love my family well. I encourage you to do the same. It really does help.
- Ask for a daily fill of the Holy Spirit. We are able to control our tongue not based on our own abilities but the Holy Spirit’s. As a believer, we are given access to self-control; it is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Each morning, before starting your day, ask the Holy Spirit to help you in choosing your words for the building up of the Kingdom of God.
Before I sign off, I want to remind you of this truth:
We are made in the Image of God. And as so, we have been given the power to create with our words. Of course, this power has limits. Unlike our Heavenly Father, we do not have the ability to speak trees, oceans, mountains, plants and people into existence; but, we do have the power to create positivity, love, encouragement and, most importantly, an atmosphere that points people to Jesus.
My prayer for each of us is that others would see Jesus through the words we speak. So, today, let’s use our power for the good of others and for the glorifying of our good, good Father.