My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Power of a Tongue
There are four important principles in today’s reading to illustrate the need to gain control of our tongues. Highlight or number them in your Bible. The first one is found in verses three and four. We see that although the tongue is small, it can do great damage. With a few small words we can cause someone great pain. The second principle is found in verse five. There we learn that the tongue can do irreparable damage. We can say things that hurt people in a way that permanently damages our relationship and ability to influence their lives positively. Third, we learn in verses seven and eight that if we are going to tame our tongues, we need the power of God. We cannot gain control of the tongue by using our own strength. Fourth, verses 9-12 tell us that the tongue has equal potential for good and evil. It can be used in great ways for God, or it can be a tool of Satan to do damage to the cause of Christ. So much damage in people’s lives and in the life of the church is done with the tongue. How is your tongue being used? Have you allowed the Spirit of God to control your tongue so that everything you say please God?
Observation: What do I see?
Interpretation: What does it mean?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do?