KEY THOT: The tongue can be our greatest blessing or greatest curse, depending on how it is used. The tongue is a wonderful gift—it allows us to taste what we eat and drink and to form words to speak and sing. Yet it can also be a deadly tool when it is out of control—a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Self-control is nothing more than tongue-control: “For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man” (v.2). If we can control the tongue, we can control the whole person—and we can be instrument of peace and love, instead of division and hatred. Like the small bit in the horse’s mouth that controls the powerful beast and the little rudder that steers great ships, so the tongue can be an instrument of great blessing or cursing, depending on how we use it. The tongue can define who we are and what we will become. If we can change the way and what a person speaks, we can change the person. Perhaps, the spiritual gift of tongue may be God’s way to gain control of our lives by changing how and what we speak.
How we speak can change our behavior. Our speech is often a reflection of the condition of our heart. God has poured out His love by his Holy Spirit into heart and we ought to be able to use to our tongue to bless, not curse. As a believer, we cannot excuse ourselves because the power and potential for right speech is within us: “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water” (James 3:11-12). The answer is no!
But we have a choice. Though we have the power of right speech, we can still choose to speak negatively, according to our flesh, not according to the Spirit. We still have a choice daily to release God's love in our heart through the right use of our tongue or suppress it by choosing to use our tongue in a negative way.
I've realized that I can also practice "right speaking" through the spiritual gift of tongue. When I speak in tongue, I am allowing God to control my speech to bless God and to edify myself. Perhaps, as I surrender my tongue daily to speak as the Spirit's inspires, I can develop the habit of right speech that will change my character and conduct.
Father, thank You that You have given us the Spirit to change us by changing the way we speak, that we might be a blessing, not a curse.. Amen.