Your very words will be used as evidence, and your words will declare you either innocent or guilty.Matthew 12:37
Essentially, what comes out of our mouths, will either justify us, or condemn us. So, how do we know what justifies and what condemns? To understand that, we need to look at what purpose God gave us for our tongues.
To find God’s purpose for our tongues, we have to look at two scriptures. One Old Testament scripture written by King David, and the other, a New Testament scripture where Peter quotes David’s words, but it is quoted in a way that brings out a meaning that is not apparent in the Old Testament.
In Psalm 16:8-9, David says, I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
Then, Peter preaching his famous sermon on the day of pentecost when the crowd had gathered to this raucous the disciples were causing, says this in Acts 2:25-26, For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
What David described as his glory, Peter uncovers under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is his tongue. David’s tongue was his glory. Our tongues are our glory. Our creator gave us tongues with one supreme purpose – to glorify Him.
Anything that comes out of our mouths, that does not glorify God, is a misrepresentation of Him. In other words, to be brutally honest, it is in actual fact sin. It is what condemns us. We are only justified when the words that proceed out of our mouths glorify God. Anything other than that is a problem for us.
James 3:6 puts it this way, And the tongue is a fire! It can be compared to the sum total of wickedness and is the most dangerous part of our human body. It corrupts the entire body and is a hellish flame! It releases a fire that can burn throughout the course of human existence.
Singular. “The tongue” is a fire…, not everybody’s tongues combined! That is a pretty sobering statement from James. There is actually a flame from the pit of hell in everyone’s tongues! But, fortunately for us we have a father in heaven who is full of mercy. But that mercy does require a part to play from us.
So, here are three simple practical structural steps to dealing with the problem of our tongues.
- Step #1: Call our problem by its right name. It’s very important that we become honest at this first step. So long as we use some excuses to cover up a problem, as long as we try some way to condone it, or pretend that it isn’t really there, or that it isn’t a serious problem, nothing will happen! We have to come to the moment of honesty. And that moment of honesty is to call it what it is: sin. Whenever we come to the moment of truth, God always moves in and helps.
- Step #2: Confess, and receive forgiveness and cleansing. 1 John 1:7-9, But if we keep living in the pure light that surrounds him, we share unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, continually cleanses us from all sin. If we boast that we have no sin, we’re only fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and he will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Notice the call to honesty in that verse. Once we’re honest with ourselves about our problem, we can confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing.
- Step #3: Receive the Holy Spirit, so He can be our pilot and steer us on course with what comes out of our mouths. On the day of pentecost, the disciples received tongues of fire – this is a new fire that replaces the hellish fire already in our tongues, that James describes. As soon as they were baptized by the Holy Spirit, they spoke in other tongues and glorified God. The only way we can keep our tongues from declaring us guilty, is to be full of the Holy Spirit. James 3:4-5 says, Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. The Holy Spirit needs to pilot our ships by controlling this small rudder in our mouths. The stakes are astronomical: Our destinies are only determined by what comes out of our mouths. We step into our new season only by what we speak from our mouths.
So, let’s take a moment to get honest before Jesus. Pray this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I have a problem, I sin with my tongue! Where my tongue has not brought glory to You, I ask for your forgiveness. And I thank you for your sacrifice on the cross that brings forgiveness to my sins when I take ownership of them, and confess them to you in honesty. I ask that you send your Holy Spirit to help me to guard my heart with all diligence, so that only springs of life flow forth from my mouth, continuously glorifying Abba Father, and bringing honor to His Name. Today I hand over total control of my tongue to Your Holy Spirit, so that from this day forth, whatever proceeds out of my mouth, only brings glory to Your Name, Father God. [Take a moment to just glorify God with your own words] My tongue is my glory, and I just glorify You Abba Father, You are glorious father God, You are Holy father. Holy, Holy, Holy! Glorious, Father God. Fill me with Your Spirit afresh Father God.