Who Can Tame the Tongue?

Humankind can tame beast and bird, reptiles and creation in the sea. Yet we cannot...

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8

Humankind can tame beast and bird, reptiles and creation in the sea. Yet we cannot tame our own tongue — the scripture says no man/woman can tame the tongue. James describes the human tongue as an unruly evil that is full of deadly poison. Is there anything good in the tongue? Yes there is, but the question is, how do we draw it out? First let’s examine the issues with the tongue and why they run so deep.

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. In James 2:3 we see that all stumble in many things, but the thing that makes us perfect is to avoid stumbling in word, and that causes us to bridle our whole body. The tongue therefore has the power to totally undue us, or make us perfect on the basis of whether we control our tongue, or whether we control our own tongues. 

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. In James 3:6 we hear that the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity that defiles the whole body. Our tongue is set on fire by hell — which means in part, that our very nature is working against us. In the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve sinned, we all inherited their fallen nature. Adam and Eve forfeited control of their lives with God to the serpent. They went from perfect communion with God, to literally hiding from Him. The deception revolved around a word, the word of God verses the word of satan. They rejected the word of God in disobedience, and embraced the deception of the wicked one. In that moment, the tongue has been unruly and impossible to tame. We can tame beast and reptiles, because we have dominion over them, yet we lost dominion over our very nature.

So, what then is our hope? If no man/woman can tame the tongue, and the tongue defiles the whole body, then we are in a world of hurt. But thanks be to God, that we have a Holy Redeemer who has released the Spirit of adoption upon His children. The Lord Jesus said this to His disciples when they were confronted with what seemed to be an impossible word to fulfill — But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Hallelujahall things are possible with our God. The Spirit is our helper to overcome all the power of the enemy. Although we cannot tame our tongues by ourselves, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. 2 Peter 2:2-4 offers us encouragement— Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We have everything we need, as long as we lean on the Lord. We cannot do what the LORD has reserved for Himself to do for the redeemed. Your tongue and my tongue are under subjection to the God of creation, if we are willing to settle His word in our hearts. Thereby, rejecting the lies of the enemy, and embracing what God has said. We reverse what was stolen from us in the garden of Eden, and embrace the truth of God’s word. My prayer for you today is found in Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.


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