Skillful Living 101—15 Taming the Tongue

Though the tongue may be small it carries tremendous weight, having the power to bring either life or death. A perpetual topic throughout scripture is on the use of this petite, but very influential member of our body.

Controlling the words that roll off our tongue are of utmost importance to the Lord. One passage of scripture goes so far as to say, that if we cannot control our tongue than our belief is useless.

James 1:26,

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion [faith, belief] is worthless.

This is critical. If we are not cognizant of this fact, we could live our whole life in deceit—gossiping and slandering people under the guise of Christian concern. I do not want to live my life unaware of how important an unbridled tongue is to God!

Truthfully, the use of the tongue is one of those matters that most of us know about and suffer from (in some degree or another) but choose to disregard or let slide as not really a sin. Why? Basically, our flesh loves to gossip—grosser still—it feeds on it. Not to mention the devil’s plan to deceive us with the lie that it’s okay and not really gossip or slander. Worse yet, we can be deceived to the point of not even thinking gossip and slander are sin. Read 2 Timothy 3:2-5, Titus 1:15-16, Psalm 101:5 and I Peter 4:15, to see if it’s a sin or not.

As the beautiful bride of Christ this is an area we constantly have to guard and purposely keep in check.

Another important point to make about the tongue is found in Matthew 12:34,

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

If our words are foul, we need not look any further than our heart for the answer as to why. Our speech is a heart issue. Our heart is to be God’s home, a place where He alone can reside. It’s our wellspring and it needs to be kept pure.

Words that give life come from a blameless heart—such words refresh the soul of those on whom they fall. Let’s make it our passion to keep a pure heart that overflows with words of life.

Proverbs 15 holds many truths about a controlled tongue and a pure heart:

Verse 1—“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Verse 2—“The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

Verse 4—“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

Verse 7—“The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool does not do so.”

Verse 14—“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

Verse 23—“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”

Verse 26—“The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but the words of the pure are pleasant.”

Verse 28—“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”

Living skillfully requires an undefiled heart and a bridled tongue.

So maybe this all sounds great and the Holy Spirit is nudging (convicting) you to guard your heart and tongue, but it seems a hard task. If so, please remember He gives grace to the humble. Simply repent and turn to God asking him for the grace to purify your heart and cleanse your speech. (Read and apply James 4:6-10) God loves it when we come to Him asking for help to be more like Him!

Two, really good scriptures to pray daily are, Psalm 141:3 and Psalm 51:6;

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts [heart], and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Please be encouraged to keep your heart pure and your speech above reproach, you will live skillfully if you do!

Skillful Living Tools:

  • The power of death and life are in the tongue, (Proverbs 18:21)
  • Controlling our tongue is important to God
  • Don’t be deceived—Gossip and slander are sin, (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
  • Don’t feed your flesh with Gossip (Galatians 5:16)
  • Our speech is a heart issue, (Matthew 12:34)
  • Keep a pure heart that overflows with words of life
  • A soft answer turns away wrath
  • A wholesome tongue is a tree of life
  • A perverse tongue breaks the spirit
  • The words of the pure are pleasant
  • The heart of the righteous studies how to answer

Please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!

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