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Watching Our Tongues

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Psalm 141:1-10 David knew how important the words we speak are. Throughout the Psalms, he prays for God to help him control his tongue. He prays in this psalm, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (v. 3).

What a great prayer to pray daily. We learn in James that no man can control his own tongue, nor can he tame it. Only the Holy Spirit is able to train and tame our tongues. Proverbs tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. James speaks of the tongue as an unruly small member of the body that has great power. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame: it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be (James 3:5-10, KJV).

Since no man can tame the tongue, we must submit this unruly member of our bodies to the Holy Spirit daily. If we have the desire to order our conversations aright all the day long, we must pray as David did: “Lord, set a guard over my tongue.” When people speak unkindly about others, I am so tempted to say to them, “Watch out; your heart is showing.” We speak what is in our hearts, and sometimes it is horrifying to discover how wicked our hearts can be.

One of the keys to ordering our conversation aright daily is to listen more than we talk. This is why the Lord gave us two ears and only one mouth. First we need to listen intently to the Holy Spirit as He seeks to direct our conversations. Have you ever been about to say something, and suddenly you hear the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit within you say, “Don’t say that.” If we have prayed for Him to watch our conversations then we need to be listening carefully for His instructions during the day. Second, we need to listen with understanding to the person who is speaking to us. Their words will reveal their heart, and the Holy Spirit can reveal what is in their heart to you. Often people are critical and negative in their conversations because they are hurting or fearful. Pray quietly as you listen to others, and the Holy Spirit will then give you a healing edifying word to speak to that person you are listening to. You have the words of life to share with someone today. Let the Holy Spirit order your conversations today.

READ: 2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-31; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23

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