One of God’s standards for measuring your spirituality or maturity in the faith is your ability to bridle, tame or control your tongue. How you use and control your tongue speaks volume about your faith and spiritual maturity.
According to God’s Word, a perfect man is someone who does not stumble in word, someone who can bridle, tame or control his tongue.
James writes, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” (Jam. 3:2 NKJV).
You are spiritually immature when you don’t bridle or tame your tongue!
The Scripture warns that we deceive ourselves if we claim to be religious or spiritual without bridling our tongues.
“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (Jam. 1:26 NKJV).
Your religion or faith is completely worthless when you fail to bridle your tongue. Therefore, it is very imperative for you to know how to bridle, tame, or control your tongue.
Although the tongue is a little member of the human body, yet it wields a great power and influence on the entire body. Anyone who can bridle or control his tongue can actually control his whole body.
Just as a small bit can control a strong horse and a small rudder can control a large ship, so can your tongue though a little member of your body affects, controls, or influences your whole body.
James 3:3-6 – NKJV
3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
Unfortunately, no natural man, human wisdom, technique, or discipline can successfully and efficiently bridle, tame, or control the tongue.
This is the first truth that anyone who is seeking to bridle or tame his tongue must acknowledge.
James clearly states this truth in his epistle.
James 3:7-8 – NKJV
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
But why is it impossible for any man to perfectly bridle or tame his little tongue?
If no man can bridle his tongue, why and how then does God expect us to bridle our tongues?
Let us explore the Scripture for right answers!
As a consequence of the fall of man, the tongue has become naturally evil, unruly, restless, ungovernable, or uncontrollable.
The Scripture describes the human tongue as “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (Jam. 3:7-8 NKJV).
The Scripture further reveals that, “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (Jam. 3:6 NKJV).
As a result of the disobedience of the first man, the entire human race has become sinful and corrupt. Sin corrupted our entire being – spirit, soul and body. No member of our human body is spared from the corruption or poison of sin.
Paul amply attests to the truth of our total corruption or bankruptcy as a consequence of Adam’s sin in his epistles.
Romans 3:10-18 – NKJV
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 7:18 – NKJV
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
This is true of every one of us. Nothing good dwells in our flesh!
Your tongue is naturally a fire, a world of iniquity, evil, corrupt, unruly, full of deadly poison.
Just as it is absolutely impossible for any man to save, redeem or deliver himself from the bondage or dominion of sin by his own effort, work or performance, so also it is absolutely impossible for anyone to deliver and cleanse his tongue from its inherent evil, deadly poison, or corruption by his own effort, work or performance.
It is only the blood of Jesus Christ that can cleanse your tongue from its innate evil, deadly poison or corruption. The divine power and wisdom to bridle, tame or control your tongue is only available in “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24 NKJV).
Therefore, it is absolutely impossible for anyone who is not genuinely born-again or spiritually regenerated by the Spirit and Word of God to bridle his tongue.
It is only the new creation in Christ that has the divine capacity or power to bridle, tame or control his tongue. Until you receive a new and divine life and nature through the new birth, your tongue remains a fire, a world of iniquity, evil, corrupt, unruly, and full of deadly poison.
Until you become born-again through faith in Christ, all your self-efforts to bridle, tame or control your tongue will always end in futility, failure and frustration because “no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (Jam. 3:8 NKJV).
How then can the born-again believers appropriate or harness the divine power and wisdom available to him in Christ to bridle, tame or control his tongue?
Your tongue and your heart are closely linked together (Psa. 45:1). Your tongue is an offshoot or branch of your heart which bears the fruits of your heart and gives a verbal expression to the thoughts or imaginations of your mind.
It is the nature or content of the heart that defines and influences the tongue. If the heart is good, the tongue also will be good; but if the heart is evil, the tongue also will be evil.
The Lord Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV).
At the new or spiritual birth, you received a new heart (Eze. 36:26, Heb. 10:16). However, it is your responsibility to guard your new heart with all diligence and fill your mind constantly with “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report…” (Philip. 4:8 NKJV).
It is the Word of God in your heart and mind that sanctifies and rules your tongue, so that “no corrupt word proceeds out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph. 4:29 NKJV).
The wisdom and power of God to bridle, tame or control your tongue is available in Christ Jesus, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
Therefore, if you begin to prayerfully and constantly imbibe or treasure God’s words in your heart and mind, your speech will “always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 4:6 NKJV).
Many believers today seem to be unable to bridle, tame or control their tongues because they are slothful in imbibing the truths of God’s Word and thus their minds are not being sanctified, ruled and controlled by God’s Word (Psa. 119:11, 37:31, 40:8, Deut. 6:6).
Paul admonishes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16 NKJV).
If the word of Christ dwells richly in you through a prayerful and diligent reading, hearing, studying, memorizing, meditating in, and confessing God’s word; your tongue will be a wholesome tongue.
Moreover, as a believer, you are expected to consciously and constantly present your tongue as an instrument of righteousness to God.
Paul admonishes, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Rom. 6:13 NKJV).
You are God’s precious possession bought by the precious blood of Christ!
Paul testifies, “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom. 14:8 NKJV).
Your body is the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Cor. 3:16-17). You must therefore always yield your whole body, especially your tongue, to the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, although you are now born again and thus a new man in Christ, yet the old man (Mr. Flesh) will always still seek to use your tongue as in times past when you were his slave.
If you allow the old man to use or control your tongue; he will use it for filthiness, cursing, abusing, lying, slandering, gossiping, foolish talking, or coarse jesting.
However, in Christ, you have the right and power to say “NO” continually to the old man or flesh whenever it seeks to employ, utilize or hire your tongue for its evil purposes.
Paul warns, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16 NKJV).
Friend, you must be firm, resolute, bold, and persistent in denying the old man the use of your tongue or any member of your body.
Anytime the old man (Mr. Flesh) asks or pleads to hire and use your tongue for his selfish and evil purposes, your response must always be, “God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2 KJV).