The Tongue: A Spring Of Praise
The tongue is given to us that we may praise God. Possibly this is the highest use for it. Further, the tongue can utter words of love, sympathy, kindness, and encouragement. Sometimes a word, carefully chosen and lovingly spoken, is all that can be done, and all that need be done.
Often the right use of the tongue is its silence. There is sin in saying too much. If all our words were written down they would fill many volumes. But how trivial most of it would be! Most of what we say would make poor reading. We cannot talk much and remain innocent. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin" (Prov. 10:19). We do well to obey the Scriptural injunction, "Be swift to hear, slow to speak" (Jas. 1:19).
The need of mastering the tongue cannot be exaggerated, yet how difficult it is! Therefore we study the subject carefully that we may be able to find the right solution.
First, we must guard the heart. If we would keep our words right, we must first keep our hearts right, for the tongue is the agent of the heart. The Lord Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12:34). Evil speaking is the result of evil thinking. So we must cleanse the spring that the river may be pure.
Second, watchfulness is necessary at all times. David said, "I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue." "I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress" (Psa. 39:1; 17:3). There is need of constant vigilance lest these sins of the tongue arise. If we find that certain occasions, or certain persons, or certain circumstances have more to do with an offending tongue than others, then we know when watchfulness is most needed. As one person resolved: "Not to make the things of this world a subject of conversation, except when God may be honored, or good done to our neighbor thereby."
Third, God has given us a power which can be used for controlling the tongue – prayer. We know the words of James: "The tongue can no man tame" (3:8). Only God can do it. If any man thinks he can tame his tongue without God’s help, he had better think again, or he will soon find out his mistake. David knew that he could not control his tongue unaided so he prayed, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips" (Psa. 141:3). This is a prayer we cannot repeat too frequently. He also prayed, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer" (Psa. 19:14). It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit, and as we make the best use of the blessings which God has given to us, that we shall have the victory over our tongues.
May all our words be gracious, joyous, timely, and loving.
– The Sunday School Times