“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal…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. 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.”- James 3:3-5
When talking about spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), I’ve come a long way in many of these areas—love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. All, except for one: Self-control. Yes I eat too much at times and spend too much money. But that’s not the area of self- control I struggle with the most.
I struggle with my tongue.
I get myself into trouble when I don’t exhibit restraint, especially during conflict. I get mad when I feel someone is attacking my character, causing me to lash out and win the argument. I also find myself puffing my chest up when I post pictures of my or my family’s accomplishments on social media. If no one else is going to brag, then I should, right?
But the deeper issue when I do that is not my mouth.
It’s my soul.
When I boast with my tongue, I am giving a voice to the sin that eats away at my soul. When I lack self-control in my speech, I resist the notion that my sufficiency and worth comes from God, not from me.
That’s not how a Christian should be.
Like the above Scripture suggests, horse trainers place a “bit” in the mouth of a horse to keep it from bucking out of control. If the trainer can control the horse’s mouth, the whole body follows. In the same way, if I can exercise restraint and bite my tongue in times of conflict, resisting the urge to be right, my soul will follow.
In what ways do you need to exhibit self-control with your tongue?