Have you ever thought about God’s wonderful gift of speech? Proverbs 15:23 says A word spoken at the right moment—how good it is! God has given us the ability to bless, encourage, praise, sing and worship with our words.
But too often our mouths—and a tiny instrument called the tongue—get us into trouble. If you have an “unbridled” tongue—and I struggled for years in this area—there’s no end to the havoc you can create in your own life and the lives of people around you.
But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness! (James 3:8-9).
Our words can do severe damage to our relationships, our careers and the world around us. But here’s the good news: With the help of the Holy Spirit, they can also do great good. God can give us the wisdom we need to control our tongues and learn to speak life-giving words that reflect the love of Christ and what His Word says. Here are a few tips to help you tame your tongue and shape your life:
1. Use your words to bless.Our words have the power to bless or curse. Proverbs 18:21 says, Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. We need to pay close attention to the way we talk about ourselves. People who have not disciplined their mouths say some of the most awful things about themselves: “I can’t do anything right. Nothing ever works out for me. Nobody loves me…” Instead of speaking out of our feelings or circumstances, we need to say the same thing that God says about us in His Word.
One of the first things I say when I get up in the morning is “God, I bless this day in Jesus’ name. I bless my husband, children, grandchildren and myself in Jesus’ name. I’m blessed when I come in and blessed when I go out.”
2. Be thankful and say so.Psalm 100:4 says we should “be thankful and say so.” Tell people you’re thankful for what they do for you—and thank God for everything. Take a few minutes every day and thank God for everything you can think of—your family, your health, food, hot water… God has given us a mouth to glorify him!
When I have my blessing session every morning, I take time to thank God for working in my life. One thing I’ve learned is when we’re waiting for a breakthrough, we need to thank Him for working on that situation behind the scenes. I also thank God for my husband, children and grandchildren as well as all of our partners and all of the people who work with us in spreading the Gospel.
3. Encourage, edify and build others up.Encouraging people has not always come easy to me, but years ago I made a commitment to God to start doing it on purpose. Every day I ask the Holy Spirit to show me who I can encourage.
Isaiah 50:4 says [The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.
Think about the people you already know you’re going to be around and ask God to put something in your heart that you can say to them that will build them up.
4. Tell the truth.The Bible says in John 4 that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth. If you’re waiting for a promotion from God then you need to be committed to the truth. Proverbs 23:23 says Buy the truth and sell it not. Holding on to the truth might mean losing a friend or your reputation. If you’re going to be committed to the truth, there will be times when you’ll have to make a sacrifice. Hang on to it no matter what it costs you. It is so rewarding—the Bible says then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32 NIV).
5. Speak the Word of God.Jeremiah 23:28-29 says He who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. … Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]? Keep hitting your problems with the hammer of God’s Word. Speak the Word out loud faithfully. It’ll break the hardest things you’re facing into pieces.
6. Don’t talk too much.
A lot of times, we just need to be quiet. Proverbs 10:19 says In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent. I think it’s interesting that we have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils—and only one mouth. We need to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to get angry.
Galatians 5:16 says if you walk by the Spirit you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. If you’ll concentrate on God’s goodness, and encourage others along the way, you will experience more joy. God loves you so much, and with His help you can control your tongue and be led by the Spirit daily.