The Power of the Tongue


Today’s message is from Mary Southerland

LORD, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say ~           Psalm 141:3

Our son and daughter-in-law and their four children recently moved to Kansas City and are living with us until they find a house. The conversation around the dinner table each night is always quite animated as Lelia and Jaydan, the nine-year-old twins, give a play-by-play account of their day at school.

During the middle of dinner last night, a rare moment of silence occurred. It did not last long. Lelia looked at me and said, “Mimi, do you know what the strongest muscle in the human body is?” I stopped to think about the question before offering several answers that Lelia quickly dismissed as wrong. “I give up!” I said. With her blue eyes twinkling and a big grin on her face, Lelia said, “It’s the tongue!”

Okay. I had to do a little research. The correct answer to Lelia’s question all depends on how you define strength. And the tongue is not really one muscle, but a conglomeration of eight different muscles.

When it comes to versatility, the tongue is indeed powerful. Its combination of elasticity and forcefulness gives us the ability to speak, eat, sip, swallow … the list is quite impressive.

According to Scripture, the tongue may very well be the strongest muscle in the body. In fact, God has a lot to say about the power of the tongue and the words we speak. Words are power tools that, in the right hands and used correctly, can build and encourage. In the wrong hands and used incorrectly, words can destroy and defeat.

Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can impart false perspectives and untruths. But the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion, light on a very dark path, and wisdom for questions that seem to have no answers.

I believe God gives us spiritual radar so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. In fact, Paul writes, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We just need to check the radar screen before we speak.

Solomon also offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3, GWT). In other words, if we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us.

Proverbs 34:13 offers a very clear directive to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” The word “keep” indicates an action on our part. We decide. We choose the words we speak. That means we must guard our hearts and our minds.

We choose what is allowed to take up room in our mind. It is literally the idea of a guard standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right.

Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23 is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.”

A judge utters a few words and a guilty man is taken to death row.

A friend speaks a word of encouragement and a desperate heart finds hope.

A mother lashes out with angry words and the light in her child’s eyes is gone.

A wife offers a word of forgiveness and a marriage is restored.

A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is destroyed.

A teenager says “no” and changes the course of her life.

Yes, the tongue is strong and powerful as are the words we speak. Let’s choose today to speak words of life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

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