Today’s reading is drawn from James 3:1-18.
Self-Discipline: If You Can Tame the Tongue, You can Tame Anything
What power our words contain! James focuses on the little muscle inside our mouths, called the tongue, a little thing that dispenses both blessing and cursing. Leaders must pay close attention, for they communicate often and carry great influence when they speak. James lists four functions of the tongue:
- Function One: to gauge (vv. 1, 2). The tongue is a spiritual meter. If we can bridle it, we can bridle the whole body. It becomes the gauge for our maturity. Our faith will never register higher than our words.
- Function Two: to guide (vv. 3–5). The tongue is like a horse’s bit, a ship’s rudder, or kindling wood. It starts things in motion. If we can control it, we can guide our lives, just as a bit directs a horse or a rudder steers a ship.
- Function Three: to gird (vv. 6–8). The tongue is powerful. Like a huge fire, it can ruin or bless our entire lives. This power was meant to send us down the right path, not to kill us.
- Function Four: to guard (vv. 9–18). The tongue can reveal what sort of wisdom we harbor inside. A good tongue protects our integrity. James asks: Is yours a good guard or a bad one? Does it create peace or reveal hypocrisy?