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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, April 8, 2015
What you say and what you don’t say are both important. To use proper speech you must not only say the right words at the right time but also not say what you shouldn’t. Examples of an untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. Before you speak, ask, “Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
James compares the damage the tongue can do to a raging fire—the tongue’s wickedness has its source in hell itself. The uncontrolled tongue can do terrible damage. Satan uses the tongue to divide people and pit them against one another. Idle and hateful words are damaging because they spread destruction quickly, and no one can stop the results once they are spoken. We dare not be careless with what we say, thinking we can apologize later, because even if we do, the scars remain. A few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build. Before you speak, remember that words are like fire—you can neither control nor reverse the damage they can do.
Even though we may not achieve perfect control of our tongues, the Holy Spirit will help us learn self-control. Remember that we are not fighting the tongue’s fire in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say, so that when we are offended, the Spirit will remind us of God’s love, and we won’t react in a hateful manner. When we are criticized, the Spirit will heal the hurt and help us to not lash out.
Our contradictory speech often puzzles us. At times our words are right and pleasing to God, but at other times they are violent and destructive. Which of these speech patterns reflects our true identity? We were made in God’s image, but the tongue gives us a picture of our basic sinful nature. God works to change us from the inside out. When the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, he gives self-control so that the person will speak words that please God. (NLT)
James 3:3-12 – We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing, and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.
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. – James 3:5 (NIV)
Deanna Baird (Michigan) titled her story “STOP, BREATHE, AND PRAY;” here is a portion of her story:
“Recently, in a phone conversation with my sister, idle chatter about one thing led to another, and before long our conversation was filled with snippy remarks and comments about other people. It seemed harmless, but later I noticed that my energy had been sapped.
“I knew that gossiping was wrong so I called my sister and asked her forgiveness for letting the conversation become so negative. She confessed to feeling the same way. . . We agreed that we had let one careless comment ignite another until we were ablaze with self-righteous indignation. . .
“We understand that speaking negatively not only affects our relationship with God and others but also has a detrimental effect on our spirits. Though they may seem insignificant, unkind words can spark into a raging inferno. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the fire from starting in the first place?”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – We honor God when –instead of gossiping—we stop, breathe, and pray.
Prayer: Gracious God, with your help, may our words be pleasant, sweet, and healing. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/spiritual-gifts/
ACHIEVEMENT, ACHIEVEMENTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/achievement-achievements/
CONVERSATIONS, CONVERSATION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/conversations-conversation/
GOOD, GOODNESS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/good-goodness/
MIRACLES, MIRACLE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/miracles-miracle/
RESPOND, RESPONSE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/respond-response/
OPPRESSED, OPPRESSION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/oppressed-oppression/
SEEK, SEEKING: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/seek-seeking/
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