A Gentle Reminder

    We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
    When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
    Likewise 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.
    The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3.2-6 NIV

Let us not forget the tongue. Daily it requires attention and care, demanding prayer and vigilance. And regular repentance.

Those idle, “not thought through” words flow readily. And regularly.

Get the harness, put in the bit. Start your day with a prayer:

    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19.14 NKJ

Small talk is a friendly, vital part of our culture. It is how we interact, meet people, show interest and concern, even care. But it can be dangerous. It can be mindless. Words ought never to be spoken without great care and thoughtfulness. They are dangerous — even the smallest of words, the things you deem insignificant, can carry weight, inflict a hurt, damage a reputation — they can start a fire.

Is the body of Christ a safe place to step out in new adventures? It should be. We should be supportive of every attempt at ministry, every effort to reach out, each baby step in the right direction. Has that attempt been perfect? Probably not. There were people involved. Has the effort been successful? Who are you to determine that answer? Can you see into hearts? Has one person been impacted for good? Then it was successful. Is a babystep a giant leap? Always precise? Perfectly directed? Probably not — but do we tell baby to give up? Do we complain that she didn’t do well enough, didn’t get it right?

We are to be those who encourage others.
We are to be those who desire to see the kingdom built.
We are to be those who nurture willingness to serve, establishing a safe place for new adventures and ideas.

Let’s be mindful of those words. They can tear down, discourage others from appreciating what God is doing, and harm ongoing building. They can cause whole forest fires. And we all know how damaging that can be.

So don’t start the day without a prayer to God to, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141.3 NKJ)

Our tongues can be fountains of life. May they be so today!


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  1. Thank you Darlene.

    Posted by Cassandra M. | January 28, 2009, 8:44 am
  2. A precious lady, another mother of nine, who spoke to our ladies’ small group this week, shared that she anoints herself with oil each morning, praying that her lips would bring good news, that her eyes would see her family and those in her territory through the lenses of the Lord, that her feet would be swift to do the good works of the King, etc. Not that there’s any magic per se in the oil itself, but I found that when I anointed myself this week, speaking words of fresh devotion to the One who longs to bridle my tongue and steer it in the direction of His purposes, that even the fragrance of it, hours later, was a subtle reminder to me to keep my tongue in line with the very things you challenged us to do here, Dar. When I was in your home years ago, Darlene, the verbal communication there was so full of life and grace and compassion, that it almost freaked me out, as it was so counter-cultural. I am inspired to continue to grow in this area, as I come from a long line of sassy tongued ancestors. Thank you for lovingly reminding us to get back on track in this vital area of representing Jesus.

    Posted by Chace Simmons | January 29, 2009, 7:43 pm