Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. I submit myself to your Lordship this morning. I give my day to you. May I do your will and not my own. I submit my mouth and tongue to you, I ask that your Holy Spirit would bridle it, that I would spiritually and consciously reign it in- in how i speak to my children, my dogs, the news that I share with others…let my words be ones of kindness and compassion, giving life, not causing death in heart or mind or soul. Let my words bless, uplift, be pure, sanctified. May I take every thought captive and thus every word captive. May my tongue be unleashed in praise to your name, giving you glory and honor. May I speak with kindness and compassion, gentleness and patience. You made my mouth, let your creation bring you honor, not dishonor. Make me sensitive to the Spirits prompting to check my thoughts or my words, to change them when He instructs me to.
James 1:26, 3:1-12
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless….
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
If you look in 1 Corinthians 10:5b you will read “…and take every thought captive to obey Christ”, and in James 1:14-15 we read “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Our words come from our thoughts, our heart. Thus in pursuit of controlling our tongue, we should be taking every thought captive to obey Christ. Oftentimes I thing this scripture is applied to the more obvious thoughts of lust, ones that come from anger, and so on. But perhaps a closer study of our thoughts would reveal that we need to be taking captive thoughts of pride, judgement, and even plain self-centeredness. Or to take captive those lightning quick thoughts that led to an unbridled tongue, words of anger or short-temperedness that should never have been spoken. The path that words take can be seen in James 1. Here it is speaking of sin’s conception and the sequence that it follows. First being lured by our own desire- I would say that this applies to our speech also, there is a desire to speak something inappropriate lures and entices us. Then it is conceived (I am thinking here that this would reflect being dwelt on, contemplated, or not taken captive and instead allowed to marinate) and gives birth to sin. The sin I am looking at today is that of the mouth, our words. And words have the power of life or death in them.
Proverbs 4:23-24 says:
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
And Titus 2:7-8
7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Colossians 4:6 talks about life giving speech:
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
And a prayer in Psalm 19:13:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Today I commit to seeking ways to bless with my words, and to give life with my words!