You have been in one of those situations where you hear your mouth saying things it should not. Suddenly, you are wanting to tell it, “Whoa! Slow down there, Trigger, you are getting me into trouble.” Perhaps you just spilled the secret about a surprise birthday party. Sometimes it is worse; you hurt someone, gossiped about a loved one, or spoke harmful things in anger. Godly people have control of their tongues:
“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26, NKJV
The elder also said:
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. (3:2-3)
I have seen and heard of many people try to “bridle their tongue.” If only it were that easy to just pull back on your tongue, get it to walk instead of gallop away in gossip or to canter instead of prance with pride-filled statements. Your words can dance off your tongue like vicious flames in a house fire. Or they can burn a steady blue flame in a gas oven, bringing things to tender perfection. What is the difference?
You will never bridle your tongue. Wait, the Bible says a godly person bridles his tongue. Maybe so, but James also said, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (3:8). Well now, that feels hopeless.
First, the man of God tells us a godly person has pulled in the reins on his or her tongue; then he says you cannot tame it. What? Both statements are true.
Taming a horse involves a lot more than sticking a bit in his mouth and yanking back on it. That is a good way to make a wild horse go crazy. No, first, you have to get to the heart of the wild animal. You have to build trust. Another word for trust is faith. Once faith is built, you see patience or calmness develop. From there, you can teach the creature just about anything.
When you put a bit in the tame horse’s mouth, just a little tug at the reins gets a big response. To rein in your tongue, your heart has to be tamed. The trainer is the Lord. When your heart rests in faith in Him, your tongue becomes easy to control. For as long as your heart runs wild in sin, your mouth will, too.
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (3:14-16)
It’s a heart-problem, friend. You cannot speak love to a person you hate. You cannot speak joy when you broil with bitterness. A heart of turmoil cannot speak soothing words. You cannot tame your tongue until you tame your heart. Only God can do that as you learn to walk in His path rather than wildly dash away from His touch.
You would not say hateful things to that person in your life, if your heart was right toward him or her. That argument with your spouse would die if your soul was in harmony with the Lord and your marriage partner. Stop kidding yourself. Stop deceiving your own heart. Stop this useless religion. Get your heart saddled with the presence of God and your mouth will be more sensitive to His gentle nudges.