TAMING THE TONGUE
Suggested Reading: Psalms 38-39
Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).
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Key Verse: Psalm 39:1
I said, “I will guard my ways,
Lest I sin with my tongue;
I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
While the wicked are before me.”
There’s a very big word here which has only one letter, the letter “i.” In these two Psalms “i,” or actually the capital “I,” appears 19 times. Could it be that we focus on ourselves too much and not enough on God? Our tongues provide the most obvious indication of what’s going on inside the “I.” David, Solomon, Paul and James all wrote about the problem we have with our tongues. James even wrote that our tongues can start a forest fire (read James 3:1-10). Dangerous or what? David writes that he can stop sinning with his tongue by guarding his ways and restraining his mouth with a muzzle. We muzzle dangerous dogs, but is this the best way to keep us, as humans made in God’s image, from backbiting and attacking one another? Self (the big “I”) control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). The Spirit produces this fruit of self-control in our lives, not the big “I.” The Apostle Paul follows his description of the fruit of the Spirit with these words, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh (the “I”) with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). Therefore, controlling our tongues is possible by yielding daily to the Spirit of God. It will take time for good fruit to grow and ripen, so that if someone takes a bite out of us, they will taste the goodness of Jesus, who dwells in every believer.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, Your servant David, twice in today’s reading, compares our lives to “vapor.” Like the morning mist, my life seems to evaporate. I ask, “Where has time gone?” Therefore, Lord, I pray all the more fervently that You will make every moment and every word I speak or write count for good. Fill me up to overflowing, I pray, so that from the overflow of Your Spirit I will bless others with the words my tongue speaks. Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
For some reason the sitcom which featured Archie and Edith Bunker comes to mind. I remember that when Edith would be making her point rather emotionally, Archie would say, “Stifle yourself1” I’m laughing as I imagine the scene, but in reality it was no laughing matter to be a part of such a dysfunctional family. Perhaps the essence of comedy is the difference between what I am as a person and what I know I should be. It’s much easier, and more fun, to laugh than to cry. Archie’s instructions to his wife, “Stifle yourself,” never worked. Edith’s tongue kept right on upsetting Archie in every episode.
By God’s Spirit, who according to the Scriptures lives in me, I can have a tongue which follows the instruction given by Solomon, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
During the 1990s up to the year 2000, I watched the Sunday morning telecast from the famous People’s Church, Toronto, with Dr. John Hull, the People’s Church Pastor. Dr. Hull used words very well indeed. I’m delighted that he has now joined Crossroads as our Chief Executive Officer. He spent the last 12 years as President and CEO of Equip, developing it into mighty world-wide ministry. I put “Dr. John Hull – Equip” into Google on my computer and found a press release about his coming back to Canada and to us at Crossroads (click here). Actually there’s much more there about John. You may want to do the same with your computer.
Yours for words “fitly spoken” to people around us and in prayer to God!