Category: Deeper relationship with God

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!

True Repentance

A lifestyle of repentance is a vital spiritual discipline for the thriving Christian. Without it, our flesh remains prideful. It is what we do with our sin that makes all the difference. If we hide our sin and defend ourselves, making excuses for our behavior, God cannot help us. Hidden sin has to be exposed—preferably by the one sinning.

Exposed sin needs to lead us to godly sorrow, which opens the door to true repentance. Godly sorrow is the grief we experience when we realize we have sinned against God Himself, this truth is illustrated in 2 Corinthians 7:8-10

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

The sorrow the world has to offer leads to death because it has nothing to do with true repentance; therefore, no changes are made. Worldly sorrow cheaply spits the words “I’m sorry” out of its mouth, desperately trying to relieve its own conscience. It is all about self, with no real regard for God or those it has hurt and wounded, which is why it leads to death.

Oswald Chambers says it in this manner,

Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, “I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes—a reflex action caused by self-disgust.

True repentance is a lethal weapon to be exercised daily. It births us into a healthy lifelong change. Repentance is not just acknowledging and confessing our sin, but the starting point of turning away from sin, as indicated in Acts 3:19.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

Casual Christians treat repentance as if it were the cold ocean where they just tiptoe at the shore. If we seriously want to be healed and live in a deeper relationship with God, than we cannot afford to be casual or to dabble. True repentance has to become our lifestyle.

It has to become our lifestyle because sin happens daily. When we ask Christ to be our savior He wipes away all our past sins. It would be great if at that point we stopped sinning all together, but that’s not the way it is.

There are sins of omission and sins of commission. There are heart attitudes that have to be dealt with daily, as well as issues that we are in the process of overcoming. We never arrive to perfection but are a work in progress.

A lifestyle of repentance is not meant to make us feel like losers, but to assist us in moving forward—in the way of sanctification.

One aspect of true repentance is that it can change our pallet for sin. Sin becomes distasteful when true repentance is taken in and savored—mainly because we recognize how our sin has separated us from God.

Another truth about repentance is that it kills pride in us. Isaiah 57:15 says,

I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

God dwells with those who are contrite and humble. Pride is a major enemy to a lifestyle of true repentance.

It’s also important to realize that the grace of God is what leads us to repentance and it comes by way of the Holy Spirit’s conviction, as stated in Romans 2:4

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness [grace] of God leads you to repentance?

When we repent and ask for forgiveness, God takes our sin and remembers it no more, as clearly specified  in Psalm 103:12

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

Please do not keep reminding Him of it, simply shut the mouth of the devil and be led by the Holy Spirit.

In Romans 8:1, Paul writes,

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

If we live in the Spirit and not the flesh there is no condemnation or guilt. One way to know if we are operating in true repentance is to check our condemnation and guilt level. True repentance sets us free with no regret. True repentance also wipes out our sin and lifts our burden, allowing God’s refreshing to come to us. The enemy of our soul will try to convince us we’re not forgiven, set free, healed or delivered. He will attempt to heap shame on us, but we have to remember; if we sincerely repent, turn and operate in Godly sorrow, God forgives us. End of story. Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west.

Essentially true repentance is priceless—it brings times of refreshing (Acts 3:19) that allow us to draw closer to God—who wouldn’t want that?

Please be encouraged to welcome godly conviction in your life and to live a lifestyle of true repentance. You won’t regret it.

The contents of this blog was taken from my book Thirsty Heart.