Bridle your tongue. Have you ever tried to bridle (or we could say, bite your tongue) when someone really pushes your buttons? When they say that one thing that really puts you over the edge? It’s hard isn’t? I dare say, almost impossible. Actually, maybe it is impossible. In chapter 3, James says as much: “…every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
Aha! A loophole! See, Scripture, itself, gives us a pass and an excuse for not holding our tongue when that huh-huh-huh had it coming! Ah, not so fast, cowboy. This may give us a reason as to why we don’t hold our tongue, but it doesn’t give us an excuse.
Wait a minute, though. No human being can tame the tongue. That’s what it says. So, if no human being can control the tongue, how are we held responsible when we don’t?
This is where spiritual maturity comes in. It’s why James said not many should become teachers in verse 1 of chapter 3, because there must be spiritual maturity.
Look at it this way:
Unless we bridle our tongue, we are deceiving ourselves and our religion is worthless. Now, James says no human CAN control the tongue? The spiritually mature one understands this, but further understands that, though no HUMAN BEING can control the tongue, God can! So, through submission to the Holy Spirit of God, our tongue comes under control and HE makes us into doers of the Word through our speech. At that point, our speech becomes a good indicator of the Holy Spirit’s control over our lives. If He is not in control (demonstrated by out of control speech), then our outward expressions of our belief system (“religion”) are worthless. In other words, it isn’t real.
Here are a couple of things to consider as you fight the battle of taming the tongue:
1. Understand you can’t control your own tongue, so submit to the work of the Holy Spirit ( this, of course, assumes you really have a relationship with Him. If not, start there!)
2. Through His strength, take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
3. Quote James 1:19-20 in your mind before you say a word and then RESPOND (rather than reacting) with a goal of honoring Christ.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20