Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
If we use our tongue properly, it will be a tree of life. Otherwise, it will be a tree of death.
Either way, we will eat the fruit of our own tongue. Will it be the sweet fruit of LIFE? Or will it be the bitter and poisonous fruit of DEATH?
It's been estimated that per day, man speaks about 20,000 words, while woman speaks about 30,000 words. The trouble is that by the time the man returns home, he has used up his 20,000 words whereas his wife is just dying and waiting to begin her 30,000 words with him.
God gave us a pair of ears, a pair of eyes, a pair of nostrils, but only one mouth. That should tell us something.
James 1:19 Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
We must learn to control our tongue. It is a clear sign of our religion and spirituality.
Chinese doctors look at the tongue to see the condition of our body. Likewise, our words reveal the condition of our heart.
James 3:1-12 uses 6 pictures to shows us the power of the tongue.
I. Control Where We Go (3:1-4)
Both the horse bit and ship rudder are weak and small in themselves, yet they can control the direction of the strong and powerful.
What you say determines your destiny!
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
What you say reveals what you think; what you think is what you will become.
While the word is yet unspoken, you are master of it; once it is spoken, it is master of you.
- Arabian Proverb
The real danger of the tongue is that it not only controls your own destiny, but also the destiny of others.
We often say the worst things to those we love the most.
The story of Karen Carpenter: Her obsession with weight began when a reviewer called her "Richard's chubby sister." She died of anorexia in 1983.
On the other hand, a word of encouragement can propel a person very far.
If you lose control over your tongue, you lose control over your destiny, and even wreck the lives of others!
II. Consume What We Have (3:5-8)
Fire, poisonous snakes and ferocious beasts have one thing in common: they are extremely dangerous and they can cause great damages.
A tiny spark of fire can destroy entire forest, even affecting neighbouring nations, resulting in millions of financial losses.
A tiny spark of unkind words can hurt someone's heart.
A tiny spark of gossip can kill someone's reputation.
A tiny spark of complaint can poison someone's mind.
Would you let lose poisonous snake and ferocious beasts in your house? You won't! Yet we let lose our words freely, destroying lives, friendships, marriages and churches.
Sinning with the tongue is the most common and easiest to commit, because we carry it with us everywhere we go.
v.8 says that no one can tame the tongue. Only the Lord Jesus can tame it.
The tongue can be set on fire by hell, but it can also be set on fire by heaven.
Give your heart to Jesus and surrender your life to Him. Let Him fill you with the fire of the Holy Spirit!
III. Uncover Who We Are (3:9-12)
The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
Matthew 12:34 "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."
What fills your heart will overflow into words. What you constantly speak about reveals what you really care about.
What is the answer to the problem of the tongue? You need a new heart in order to have a new tongue.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.