James 1:19; 3:8

I’m sure that you all would agree that we are a nation of talkers.  As Americans, we love to talk.  News has become an endless smorgasbord of talk shows from a variety of persuasions. There is talk radio and Sirius XM channels devoted to popular hosts.  iTunes offers a plethora of options in the form of podcasts ranging from popular preachers to motivational speakers and conspiracy theorists. We all have something to say, and it seems that everyone wants to be heard.  Social media has given everyone a platform. Pay close attention to what James says here in verse 19: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

James has just concluded a section in which he emphasizes the importance of works which serve as a reflection and result of authentic faith.  Now, he will begin a section in which he emphasizes the importance of the words that we speak.  This section in James 3 is the longest section in the Bible devoted strictly to the tongue and its potential influence.

I read where on average, a person will speak 860.3 million words in a lifetime. According to James, our words are important.  Men and women of faith are those who pursue godliness both through their works as well as their words. Words are the vehicles of ideas.  They can be used to communicate in a positive way, or in a negative way. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. This is why we must be slow to speak. When a person opens his or her mouth, they often reveal what is truly within. Our words are a barometer for what is really inside our heart.

How do I control my tongue? Know that it begins with a heart that is surrendered to Jesus.  Before my words will ever give life to others, I must possess the life that Jesus gives through faith in Him. Once you have surrendered your life to the will of Christ, your heart and your words will work together in beautiful harmony.

Be careful about the words you choose to speak today.

For more, read James 3:1-12; Matthew 12:36-37