The Tongue Test

Michael Beck

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While we are not to tempt the Lord by expecting His blessing when walking in disobedience, God does want us to “prove” Him through a walk of obedience.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, andprove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

David was a man who faced gigantic challenges.

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span…
…Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. (1 Samuel 17:4,8,9)

The tongue is our “Goliath.” Our everyday failure to defeat an unruly tongue declares that we are not mature.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body… But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unrulyevil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:2,8)

The proud tongue refuses to be “bridled” and scorns any to overcome it.

The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psalm 12:3,4)

Even as David answered Goliath’s challenge, he poses his own challenge to the tongue in Psalm 34.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalm 34:12-14)

desire > Hebrew – chaphets > have pleasure in

Instead of finding good, when we speak things we shouldn’t we end up falling into “mischief” (i.e., avoidable pain and trouble.)

He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief. (Proverbs 17:20)

We spare ourselves and others much unnecessary heartache when we bridle our tongue.

Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)

We need to respect the “power of the tongue” because depending on how we use it, scripture promises us either wonderful blessings or terrible consequences.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruitthereof. (Proverbs 18:21)

Even “small” comments can have devastating consequences.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great amatter a little fire kindleth! (Jam. 3:5)

At all times we are called to “think” before we speak.

The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. (Proverbs 15:28)

God will hold us accountable for “unthoughtful” words.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give accountthereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36,37)

Much pain is caused by those who are “only kidding.”

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? (Proverbs 26:18)

We should be as committed to keeping ourselves from hurtful humor as we are to keeping ourselves from immorality.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:3)

We are to say nothing which would tear down or hurt another.
Our words should always build up and bring “grace” to those that hear them.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

grace > Greek – charis > that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness

Only as we walk in love will we keep ourselves from saying anything which wouldhurt another.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)

Forces of hell use an unbridled tongue to “light the match” which begins a motiontoward a “great” conflagration of trouble.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire ofhell. (James 3:6)

course > Greek – trochos > a wheel nature > Greek – genesis > source, beginning

One hurtful word can “get the ball rolling” toward a brawl.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

If we will “zipper” our mouth when we proudly think of a “good” comeback, or angrilywish to get in the “last” word, we will prevent a full blown fight and continuing strife.

If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine handupon thy mouth.
Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife. (Proverbs 30:32,33)

We “unleash” demonic activity when we verbalize evil and unrighteous thoughts that have been “brewing” within.
(That which is “unclean” or defiled speaks of that which is demonic.)

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and theydefile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Matthew 15:18-20)

We will not be blessed if we give a listening ear to “ungodly counsel” (coming from either men or devils.)

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.