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Taming the Tongue

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We are going to look at what James says about how to tame our tongue or mange our mouth.
We love to talk. Average person has 30 conversations / day. spend 1/5 of your life talking… some more. 1 year your words would fill 66 books with 800 pages. Men speak avg of 20,000 words/day… women 30,000 / day.
Some of us are born with a disease called foot in mouth… we just always seem to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.
ILL Like the stock boy at the grocery store. Lady asked him, "Can I buy half a head of lettuce?" He walked back to the manager to ask, not realizing she was walking right behind him. He said, "You're not going to believe this, there's an old bag out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce." He turned around and saw her standing there and said, "And this fine lady would like to buy the other half
Has anyone ever wished you could pull some words back into your mouth?
Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble. James talks a lot about our mouths. He says
James 3:2 NLT
2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
Perfect - means mature.
Doctor - stick out your tongue. It says a lot about us. We have go to learn to tame our tongue.

Why Should We Control Our Tongue?

We often say something and go, I was just joking… or they are only words. Sticks and Stones…
James gives us 3 reasons to control our tongues and 2 illustrations of each.

1. My Tongue Directs WHERE I GO.

James 3:3 NLT
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.
Look at your conversations. What do you talk about? We shape our words and our words shape us.
The tongue is small but it does a lot…
James 3:4 NLT
4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.
It doesn’t matter how big the Ship is, the rudder is small in comparison. James is saying that your tongue is like the steering wheel on a giant ship and it steers you where you are going.
If you don’t like the way you are heading right now, change the way you talk.

2. My Tongue can DESTROY WHAT I HAVE.

James 3:5–8 NIV
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Just like a spark burns down an entire forrest, our tongues can cause a large amount of damage.
California every year.
A careless camper can destroy a forrest over night and a careless word can destroy a life over night. Careless words have destroyed millions of friendships, marriages, work relationships, etc.
If you can’t control your tongue, it’s like fire.
Have you ever met a verbal arsonist? Their words are always inflammatory.
Biggest lie - Stick and stones… That’s a lie. Fire and words under control can give tremendous warmth and light, but fire and words out of control can be devastating.
Proverbs 18:20 TEV
20 You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.
James 3:6 NIV84
6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Words can create a chain reaction of hurt. You say something and then it spreads and it changes as it spreads.
You come home from work and you're tired and grumpy and cranky. The husband walks in and yells at the wife. The wife yells at the oldest kid. The oldest kid yells at the baby sister. The baby sister goes out and kicks the dog. The dog goes and bites the cat. The cat comes in and scratches the baby. The baby bites the head off the Barbie doll. Wouldn't it be a whole lot simpler if the husband just bit off the head of the Barbie doll himself?
Proverbs 21:23 NLT
23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
James uses another illustration.
James 3:7–8 NLT
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.
James is saying that man has tamed all kinds of animals, but cannot tame the tongue. It’s humanly not possible, but with God’s help it can be done.
James says the tongue is restless… Lion park… sign do not get out, or roll down your windows. What looks so tame and peaceful can become restless and attack in a second.
Our mouths are like that. They are restless and anything can come out at any time if we don’t get help to tame it.
James closes by saying it’s like deadly venom… snake venom. Your tongue can be deadly.

3. My Tongue Displays WHO I AM?

James 3:9–12 NLT
9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
The tongue reveals your character. It shows what’s inside of us. James points out how inconsistent we are in our speech.
James 3:9–10 NLT
9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Good and bad stuff come out of the same mouth and James says that should not happen.
How can we say something nice one minute and the next tear someone down?
James 3:11–12 NLT
11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
Whatever is in the well comes out in the water. Whatever is in the tree, comes out in the fruit. Apple trees don’t produce cherries.

The Problem is not Your Tongue, but Your Heart

What’s inside is going to come out.
Matthew 12:34 NLT
34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
Matthew 15:18–19 NLT
18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
Jesus through James explained Freudian slips long before Freud. He said that what is inside you comes out. You tongue, displays what you are; it directs where you go; It can destroy what you have. Most of all, it displays what I am. It reveals your character.
If you have a problem with your mouth, it’s really a heart problem.

A Person with a harsh tongue has an angry heart

A person with a negative tongue has a fearful heart

A person with a boasting tongue has an insecure heart

A person with a filthy tongue has an impure heart

A person with a critical tongue has a bitter heart

On the other hand,

A person with encouraging words has a happy heart

A person who speaks truthfully has an honest heart.

How Can I Control My Tongue?

1. Get a New Heart.

You have to get a new heart.
Ezekiel 18:31 TEV
31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die?
You can paint the outside of the pump, but the water can still be poison.
You can turn over a new leaf, but what you really need is a new life… a new heart.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
17 This means that 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, He wipes your record clean. We need to pray daily,
Psalm 51:10 NLT
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

2. Ask the Lord for Help Every Day.

Yo cannot do this on your own. You have to get God’s help. You need supernatural power to overcome the tongue. Ask God to help you...
Psalm 141:3 NLT
3 Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.
Lord Watch my mouth… Don’t let me be critical today. don’t let me say things I will regret today.
Psalm 19:14 NLT
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Getting into God's Word is a part of asking God for help. As you ask Him for help you need to read His word. Computer statement: “Garbage in, garbage out.” What goes into your mind, goes into your heart, and what goes into your heart, comes out of your mouth. Fill your mind with the word of God -- with positive things, whatsoever things that are true, etc. -- think on these things.

3. Think Before You Speak.

Engage your mind before you engage your mouth. Just because it pops into your brain doesn’t mean if has to come out of your mouth.
James 1:19 NLT
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Quick to Listen = Slow to Speak = Slow to Get Angry

Talk about the flow. …
What does your tongue say about you? What does it reveal about you? If we were to play back a tape of every conversation you've had in this past week, what would we learn about you?
God hears it all. What direction is your tongue taking you? I’m sick all the time. I can never do that… Our tongues control the direction of our lives just like a rudder guides a ship.
A bit and a rudder must be under the hand of a strong arm. James is saying that the only way to get control of your tongue is let Jesus Christ have control of your heart. What's in your heart is going to come out in your mouth. You let Christ's hand be on your bit, your rudder and let Him direct your life.
Maybe you need to ask forgiveness. Maybe you need to go to your kids to say, "I'm sorry. I'm inconsistent the way I talk to you. Maybe you need to apologize to your wife or your husband. Maybe yoou need to go to another attender and ask forgiveness.
Ezekiel 18:31 TEV
31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die?
Altar Time...
Ask God to give you a new heart… maybe for the first time or a refresher.
Is your tongue leading you in the right direction?
Maybe you need to ask forgiveness for things you have said
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