“Taming the Tongue”

How we use our tongues is a great indicator of our spiritual maturity. In fact, James writes in his epistle, “If anyone among thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives own heart, this one’s religion is useless (1:26). The person may think or even say he is saved (2:14), but the faith he professes may not be a saving faith. The true Christian grows in his faith and learns to bridle or control his tongue.
There are many areas of our lives in which we must grow and become more like Christ. In his major section on the tongue, James says that we stumble or sin in many things not just in reference to our speech. (3:1-12). As Christians, we grow and in the process of spiritual growth or sanctification, we never become sinless, but we ought to be sinning less and less. James indicates that those who have experienced the greatest degree of Christian maturity are the ones who do not stumble in word. It is they who exercise self-control in what they say who are also obedient in the other areas of the Christian life. He seems to suggest that it is only these who should become teachers in the church since they receive a stricter judgment.
Though it is small it can produce great good or great evil. With it we can bless God, or curse men who are in the image of God. We must mature so that we consistently use our tongues for good. We must realize that the sins of the tongue can have devastating effects. James describes the tongue as a fire set on fire by hell itself, an unruly evil and full of deadly poison. Like a wild animal it must be tamed, but unlike every wild animal, a man cannot tame his tongue. Where does that leave us? Man cannot tame the tongue, but God can! Though James does not mention the Holy Spirit, it is His work in our lives through the Word of God that causes our maturity, and gives us victory in the area of our speech.