How to manage your mouth and your direction

A man once tried to justify the harshness of his tongue by saying, “It passes, it is done quickly.” To which the famous preacher, Billy Sunday, replied, “So does a shotgun blast!”

This summer, Fulmont Community Church is focused on managing our mouths. Let me share some bits of convicting and creative truth from the Letter of James. You would do well to read the third chapter of James’ letter for the whole context.    

Why must I watch what I say? Because my tongue directs where I go.

James illustrates in verse 3, “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.”

Justify weighs 1380 pounds and recently won horse racing’s Triple Crown. Jockey Mike Smith controlled that powerful animal by a little piece of metal stuck strategically over his tongue. Likewise, your tongue controls the direction of your life wherever you want to go, and a little bit of a word or a phrase can impact the total direction of your life.

My tongue can destroy what I have. “And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:6)

It only takes a small spark to ignite a huge fire. A careless word can destroy a life overnight. How many people because of a careless word have destroyed their marriage, career, reputation or a friendship? The tongue has the power to direct where you go, and to destroy what you have if you don’t learn to control it. 

And my tongue displays who I am. It reveals my true character; what’s really inside of me. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”  (James 3:9) How is it possible that we can be loving to people and the next moment be harsh, cold, mean to them? James says the problem is with the source. Jesus said the same in Matthew 12:34, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”

If the problem is in our heart, then the solution is to get a new heart. Painting the outside of the pump makes no difference if there is poison in the well.

How do I get a new heart? Consider 2 Corinthians 5:17; “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

When you come to Jesus by trusting who he is and what he’s done to pay the penalty for your sin, He wipes out your past and gives you a new life. 

With a new spiritual heart, we can ask God for help every day. You need supernatural power to control your tongue. You can’t do it on your own; your life is living proof of that. I’ve used this prayer many times; “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil” (Psalm 141:3) 

Finally we need to think before we speak. Engage your mind before you put your mouth in gear.  Or as James says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19)  

What does your tongue reveal about you? If we could play back every conversation you had this past week, what would we learn about you? What direction is your tongue leading you? A bit and a rudder must be under the hand of a strong arm. James says the only way to get control of your tongue is let Jesus have control of your heart. What’s in your heart is going to come out in your mouth. Let Christ’s hand be on the rudder of your mouth and let Him direct your life.

I am privileged to be a member of Glove Cities Rotary. Rotarians practice the Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, or do. First…Is it the truth? Second…Is it fair to all concerned? Third…Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Fourth…Will it be beneficial to all concerned? If you want a pleasant life that shares blessings with others — watch your words!           

Pastor Greg Meyers is of the Fulmont Community Church in Gloversville

By Kerry Minor

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