In our last post, we made mention of how many proverbs give us guidance in being good stewards in the areas of material possessions, sexuality, work and friendship. Another area that is often covered by Proverbs is the tongue. For example, in Proverbs 21:23 we read these words: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” In other proverbs we read how the mouth of the wise is like a fountain of life.
The New Testament Book of James is considered to have teaching which resembles the kind we find in the Book of Proverbs. So it should not surprise us that James has a significant passage which covers the power of the tongue (James 3:1-12). In James 3, the tongue is likened to a small spark of fire and a ship’s rudder. The point is that even though the tongue is a small organ of the body, it can have great effect in one’s life, either for good or for ill.
Even though man has learned to tame all kinds of animals, he cannot tame his tongue without God’s help (vv. 7&8). Since the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart, we need our hearts to be circumcised by the gracious hand of the LORD.
As we take to heart this universal human condition, James gives us similar advice to what the Book of Proverbs give us. We are called to humble ourselves before the LORD and submit to His merciful working in our lives (James 3:13,17). As Proverbs puts it: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 1:7). Let us humbly and trustingly cling to our Lord Jesus so that streams of living water can flow from within us through Spirit-inspired words(Jo. 7:37-39). In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John