I once read that “the tongue is the tail of the heart.” I found it quite an amusing statement at the time, but have realized that it is indeed true. Just like the tail of a dog demonstrates the mood and attitude of a dog, my tongue demonstrates the mood and attitude of my heart.
What comes out of my mouth is directly linked to what is in my heart.
Recently I noticed that there was a lot of arguing and fighting in my household. Now I love peace and quiet, so I asked God to show me what the source of the strife in my household was. His answer came in the following verses with a few of my own notes to myself in brackets:
James 4:1-2 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your own desires that battle in you? You want something but you don’t get it. (The Message says “it fights deep inside you”) You kill (with the tongue in angry words) and covet (what you don’t have), but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.”
The discord and strife within my house was directly linked to my tongue. My mouth was “wagging” with all that is not going my way, with all that I was dissatisfied with. I confront my family to “call them up higher” to “call for change,” not realizing that “wagging” at things not going my way is the heart motivation behind much of what I am saying – my own selfish ambition. Ouch!
James 1:26 “ If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and is religion is worthless.”
What comes out of my mouth:
- reflects what I believe and
- in demonstrating control of the tongue, I demonstrate spiritual maturity.
In James 1:19 Paul admonishes: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Ouch!
James 3:16-18 AMP “For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled), then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering and insincerity).
And the harvest of righteousness is the [fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement and harmony between individuals with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passion and moral conflicts.]”
Finally the rest of James 4:2 gave me the remedy for my mouth: “You do not have what you want because you do not ask God.”
In other words: “Shut up and pray, Michelle.”
It was not about what had to be said, and what was right, it was about getting control of my tongue and coming to the Lord in prayer.
People around me, thanks to my tongue, know what I am calling them to and what I desire, but the same tongue betrays my anger, my selfish ambition, and my motives.
I needed to be more quick to listen, slow to speak and slower at becoming angry.
My tongue showed the true motives of my heart.
Father please forgive me for the lack of control of my tongue. Help me to recognise when I am motivated by my own wants and desires. Help me to recognise exactly what motivates the words that come out of my mouth. Thank you that if I rely on You Lord, you will help me to get control over my tongue and my desires, and make me a person who keeps peace and makes peace.