Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
We use them everyday and some more than others—and I’m referring to words. We use words all the time. Some people love words, because words have that amazing ability to communicate knowledge, to inspire action, to calm the fearful, to encourage the depressed, to express anger, and to display beauty with words that paint a picture.
A good story-teller uses his voice, draws an image in your mind that is more real than what a filmmaker puts on the movie screen. Words are powerful and beautiful because they contain so much of life itself. Think about it with me for a minute. Our words can be filled with love, joy, happiness and blessing or they can be filled with sarcasm, unbelief, all kinds of negativity, and even hate. Have you ever spoken in a moment of hate and rage?
Use your words wisely
Words can curse and words can bless. Words can encourage and bring life. Words can discourage and bring death. The words that you hear linger with you. For example, the biting, stinging, hurtful words we speak to our wife, husband, or children as they leave the house in the morning can rob them all through the day. Loving and tender words of encouragement can linger too, and keep them encouraged all through the day and bring them to victory.
I like the advice about words given in the Bible in Proverbs 18:20 (NCV):
People will be rewarded for what they say;
they will be rewarded by how they speak.
What you say can mean life or death.
Those who speak with care will be rewarded.
God’s Word has a way of getting to the heart of things.
I sense that taming the tongue is critical to good relationships and good living. Have a read sometime of James 3, the first 12 verses and you’ll see what I mean:
If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in his mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even thought the winds are strong.
So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself, and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.
Sometimes the tongue praises our heavenly Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against men who are made like God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. (James 3:1:10 – TLB)
What comes from the mouth has the power to make life good or miserable, one or the other. How you control your tongue is critical to your spiritual health and your wellbeing. I think it’s wise to take notice of the Word of God.
Listen much, speak little
Strangely enough, the first step to taming the tongue is to not use it at all. James 1:19 (TLB) says: “Don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry”. That really says the best way to gain control of your tongue is to listen more than you talk. Dale Carnegie, who wrote the best-seller How to win friends and influence people, once said you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you. What an interesting comment!
The reality is that we don’t listen very well. Many people listen only so they can talk. We aren’t really listening to what the other person is saying—we’re just listening for a pause, so we can speak. Think about it. This is especially true of an argument—where two people talk and no one is listening at all! Then there are some people who don’t talk or listen—and that’s not good either!
So, there it is—the idea of words. Sometimes the words can get us in all sorts of trouble and we do need to watch that.