That is something; being able to keep our whole body in check simply by saying the right things! The hidden idea here is that if we have a problem with our behavior or have bad habits, it is because of what we have been saying. I know that might not sound possible but as we will see, the bible teaches that our “doing” is inextricably connected with what we say and that if we can tame our tongue, we can tame our whole body.
The amplified bible makes it even clearer than that. It says this… “And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and curb his entire nature." (Jas. 3:2 Amplified Bible) That’s amazing… curb our entire nature!
The book of James explains that our tongue is like a rudder of a ship. It says that even though ships are so big they are turned and directed by a very small helm; even in great storms. (Jas. 3:4) And that is exactly how our tongues are. What we say is what we will do. I guess that is clear enough, but what does it mean and how does it work? We will get to that shortly, but first let’s consider a problem that James brings up in his book. After telling us that if we tame our tongue we can tame our whole body; he then tells us that no man can tame the tongue. (Jas. 3:8) How fair is that? Well, it is true what he is saying but the man he is talking about that cannot tame the tongue is a natural man, one who tries in his own "natural" strength and in his own "trying" to tame his or her tongue. That just won’t work. We must learn how to tap into God’s supernatural power to tame our tongues. The reason for this is that the bible says there is no good thing in our flesh; that is our natural man; leaving us with no power to do the things we want. Have you ever tried keeping a New Year’s Resolution? That should give you an indication of the power we have to do the things we want… like about none! Paul said this about himself, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. (Rom. 7:18-19) He was making it clear to us from personal experience that even though we might know the right thing to do and want to do them, there is no power in ourselves to accomplish them. Even the very best of people with the best of motives do not have the power within themselves to do good. That is why the world is like it is. We just don’t have the power within ourselves to do good no matter how hard we try! We need God and his power and that includes for the taming of our tongues.
I know that there is a more to this than meets the eye. As I mentioned, no natural man can tame the tongue; we must become spiritual men and women. So first there is the issue of accepting Jesus as personal savior and having the spirit of God dwelling in us; thus I will consider this problem of our tongue as Christians; those of us who have accepted Jesus as our savior.
What then is the solution to taming our tongues so we can tame our behavior? Well, it is really quite simple. Jesus said that it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” It is those things that we believe and think and have in abundance in our heart that we will say and it is those things that we say that will steer our life. Jesus went on to say, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things. And an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Mt. 12:34-35) It is what is in our heart in abundance that we will say and it is what we say that we will do. Listen further to the Lord when he said this, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…” (Mt. 15:18-19)
This then makes it clear how to live the Christian life and it is really simple. It has nothing to do with being determined or trying harder; it has everything to do with what we believe and have in abundance in our heart. If we believe in our heart what God says and fill our heart with an abundance of his WORD it will transform and empower and direct our lives. That is where the power is. In short, if we think like God, (believing and being filled with his word) we will talk and act like God. And that is a good thing. (Rom. 12:1-2)
So, how do we fill our hearts with God’s word? Well, it will not entirely be through our own bible reading and study. In fact, if that is all we do, it will not work for us. That is because that is not the way God made the body of Christ to grow and to develop. In the book of Ephesians we read that Jesus gave gifts unto men (and women). These gifts are gifts of ministry. It reads like this… “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” (Eph. 4:11-13)
Without submitting to the “five-fold” ministry gifts, we will never develop as we should. But we must be very discerning about the ministries that we submit ourselves to. Many ministries; in fact, I think most ministries (though they may be well meaning) teach the religion of men, and men don’t always think like God thinks. You can be as well meaning as you can but if you misunderstand the bible and rather teach what you think it says, you will not have the results the bible promises. The problem is that the religion of men often sounds biblical. That is why so many teach and listen to it and try to live it. Like I just said however, a good indicator that a ministry teaches the Word of God is that the word taught will bring results, being confirmed by God with consistent miracles, signs and wonders. God always confirms his word with signs following. (Mk. 16:20) The key is to find a ministry that consistently has the kind of results in prayer that Jesus had and to learn the word from them. Listening to them on a regular basis will help you get supernatural results in your life and will also help you to recognize the difference between God’s word and the religion of men. That will be the key to supernatural power working in your life instead of your own natural power which religion is always based on. Remember, we have no power within ourselves to please God. We must learn how to tap into God’s power to do those good things that God wants us to do and to have all the blessing that God wants us to have. Hosea said that, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” (Hos. 4:6) That should make it clear why sometimes our Christian lives are a struggle and do not have biblical results... We may think we understand God's word, but if we do not have the results the bible promises, there is a problem.
I’ll leave you with a short list of ministers that I have found helpful in the goal of filling our hearts with God’s word AND that will help clarify the difference between the word of God and the religion of men… Andrew Wommack, Bill Winston, Joseph Prince, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Joel Osteen, Fred Price, Charles Capps, and Leroy Thompson. I am sure there are others, but I am most confident these. Listening to the teachings of these ministries in abundance (along with our own bible study) will go a long way in the process of filling our hearts with God’s word and keeping that word flowing out of our mouths. And this is the only way to tame our tongues and thus keep our whole body in check. Trying hard to live right will just not work. We need the power of God’s word to do that! (Rom. 7:14-25, Jas. 3:1-4)
Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”
More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www.jbagati.com