I Know You Want To, But Will You? Part 4
September 3, 2022 / James 3:1-12
Part 4: Watch Your Mouth! • Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
The sin list attached to your mouth:
- Angry words
The truth about that weapon in your mouth:
- No one does this (verse 2)
- It’s small but controlling (verses 3–4)
- Acts like a spark that ignites a forest fire (verse 5)
- Can corrupt your (verse 6)
- Cannot be tamed (verses 7–8)
- Is full of poison (verse 8)
- Is undeniably (verses 9–12)
If you can’t tame it, how can you control it?
Understand the power of words:
The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18
Changing your character starts with changing your words–practice the .
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” – Proverbs 21:23
Controlling your tongue is a that you will be held accountable for.
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:34–37
Make a conscious choice to speak .
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:10-12
The potential goodness of a controlled tongue:
- Expressed wisdom
- Wholesome talk
- Words of life
Scripture says we should consider what a great forest is set on fire by such a small spark, and we’ve all seen this play out countless times on social media. We’ve all seen the division and brokenness words can create in our lives. So, this week we want to intentionally use our words and platforms to show the world something different—to build people up instead of breaking them down.
Here’s how it works. Look back at the outcomes in the section above (The potential goodness of a controlled tongue). This week, our challenge for you is to pick ONE of these outcomes and share a picture on social media of someone who lives it out, and describe how in the caption. Tag your picture with the hashtag #ctkspeaklove so others can find it and be encouraged together.
Small Group Questions
- What is one part of the fall season that you are looking forward to?
- Has your mouth every gotten you in trouble? Share!
- Look back at the “sin list” that’s attached to your mouth. Which one has caused the most damage in or to your life?
- Look at the “virtue list” (the potential goodness of a controlled tongue) that is attached to your mouth. Which one has produced the most benefit in or to your life?
- Have you ever experienced any victory in taming your tongue? What did God help you to do?
- How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?