Think about how Jesus wonderfully bridled his own tongue. Think of all the times it must have been hard for Him to keep quiet. The last time He saw the disciples in the upper room, for example, He said to them, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (Jn. 16:12). He told them that when the Holy Spirit came, He would explain things further. Can you imagine if you or I had knowledge that today was the last time we would be with those closest to us? Our first inclination would be to talk our heads off, whether or not those listening were able to understand us. Jesus, out of love and concern for His disciples, knew there was “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7), and that this was a time to keep silent. And so He did. His Spirit, which He sent to live in us, can help us to do the same!
All through Jesus’ ministry, people wondered at the gracious words that came out of His mouth. No bitter water sprang from the lips of the Lord Jesus! Maybe strong words, maybe fierce words or righteously angry words, but above all, they were gracious words.
So Jesus in me can help me bridle my tongue, control my temper, and choose fitting words for me to speak that meet any and all situations. When our tongue starts to lead us into rough waters, we have to allow the Pilot to turn our ship about and steer us to safety (Jas. 3: 2-6).
If we do not want our words to cause a shipwreck, we need to give Jesus the rudder. Have you ever done that? You can kneel down and say, “Jesus, it says in the Bible that all my members must be yielded to You. My hands, my feet, my heart, my mind, my ears, my eyes, and my tongue.” If you think about each of the parts of your body, especially the tongue, and give them one by one to God and ask Him to control them, He will.
God takes seriously the words of all His followers: not just teachers, but listeners and learners too. Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36).
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