So tame your tongue—fill your mouth with the Word of God—and then set your course for a life full of success.
One of the most natural things we do in life is talk. In fact, long before most of us knew what we were doing, we were learning to talk. We started forming our first words while we were still babies.
But there’s also something very supernatural about our ability to talk.
You and I are the only creatures God made with the right to choose our own words and then speak them.
What’s so supernatural about that?
Well, consider a parrot. A parrot has a tongue, as well as all the other equipment necessary to sound like a man. But a parrot’s tongue is hooked only to its body, therefore, it can only mimic sounds it hears. It cannot actually choose its own words and carry on a conversation.
You and I, however—being created in the image of God—were designed with our tongues connected to our spirits and souls, as well as our bodies. That means, we have the ability to speak words that contain a creative, or supernatural, force that enables those same words to come to pass.
Consequently, each of us is the prophet of his own life. We set the course of our own future. Our health, our wealth and our place in eternity, is in our mouths. Everything about us has been, and will be, determined by the words we speak.
The challenge we face, then, is...What can we do to make sure our words are carving out a good life for us on this earth, and a future for us in heaven?
You’re the Captain—You Decide!
To get an idea of just how powerful our words can be, let’s read James 3:2-8:
If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the [captain decides]. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 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 of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
In verse 4 James talks about a great ship being turned by a small rudder. Now, this ship that James talked about is our earthly body. It’s the vessel which contains our spirit. And while we all know how much trouble our bodies can give us, James explained that these five-physical-sense bodies of ours can be turned, or guided, by our tongues.
James leaves no question as to the power we hold within our tongues, but that power can either work for us or it can work against us. Either way, we are the ones who decide, because we are the captains of our own lives. Each of us stands at the helm and decides where his ship is going.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” So it is the tongue that sets the course for our lives.
There is no storm on life’s sea through which we cannot safely sail by proper use of the rudder that’s in our mouths. Our tongues can be a powerful tool used in our favor, they can also be an unruly and deadly force, causing our lives to be shipwrecked if we let them run out of control. Our only hope for taming them, and thereby charting a good course for our future, is the Word of God.
It’s Our Word Against God’s
As we’ve seen in this series, true success in life comes from putting God’s Word in our mouths and in our hearts. Matthew 12:34-35 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
If you and I are going to use the Word of God to navigate through this life, however, there are a couple of issues we need to settle first. To see what I mean, let’s look at James 3:13-16.
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
A key phrase that I want us to examine in this passage is, “lie not against the truth” (verse 14).
Have you ever noticed how we can wake up some mornings with every symptom of the flu, or maybe a head cold, and the first thing we want to do is tell someone all about it? We go looking for someone to get into agreement with us—“Yeah, you’re sick, all right!”
Or, how about those times when things are just not going our way? Maybe it’s a hairdo, or the family vacation, or work at the office. Whatever it is, pressure just seems to keep building and building until we feel like we’re going to explode if we don’t say at least something about it!
Why do you think it’s so hard to keep our mouths shut in situations like that? Jesus answered this in Mark 4. He warned that satan comes to steal the Word of God from our hearts through persecution, offense, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and lust of other things. He uses anything and everything in this natural realm to stir up our flesh and get us to open our mouths.
So the issue comes down to: What’s going to come out?
Only by getting hold of our tongues can the devil put anything on us, or take anything from us. If he can get our tongues, then he can get the rest of us. All he has to do is get us to lie against the truth which is God’s Word.
It’s not so surprising, then, that when we’re under pressure from our flesh—being moved by what we see, or feel, or think—we tend to open our mouths and say things like, “I’m so unworthy!” “I’m so tired!” “I’m so broke!” “I’m so ugly!” “I’m never going anywhere in life!”
When the pressure is on, that’s when we really find out what’s on the inside of us—and it’s usually not the Word of God.
Yet, what we see, what we think and what we say, does not change the truth of God’s Word. That’s why James called it lying against the truth, or lying against the Word.
The truth according to the Word says, “By [Jesus’] stripes ye were healed...” (I Peter 2:24). When we say, “I’m just so sick!”—we’re lying against the truth. We’re giving the devil a foothold into our lives, and setting the course for a life full of sickness.
If we say anything other than what the Word of God says about a situation, we are lying against the truth.
Facts Change—The Truth Doesn’t
Another key phrase in James 3 that links our words to our success in life is found in verse 17—“without hypocrisy.”
So, it is this same Word that is “without hypocrisy.” That’s why it is not hypocrisy for us to have every flu symptom in the world, yet go around quoting God’s Word as our own and saying, “By His stripes I was healed. Healing is mine, and I receive it now!”
Sure, people may look at us and say, “Well, that’s a lie. Look at you—you’re sick. You’re just a hypocrite!”
No. We’re not going around declaring our physical health according to the Word in order to convince people there is nothing wrong with us. If we were to do that, we would be lying.
We’re confessing God’s Word and saying those things to change what’s wrong with our bodies. We’re calling “those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). God Almighty, Himself, does that.
Granted, the fact may be that we look sick, and that our bodies are showing symptoms of sickness. But that is not the truth of the matter. That’s not what God’s Word says about the situation.
What’s more, the truth—God’s Word—is eternal. It never changes. Facts, on the other hand, do change. And it’s the truth that changes them.
The symptoms of sickness are a fact. God’s Word is truth. Truth takes authority over facts and changes them.
Have You Considered Jesus?
I’ve seen it happen countless times in my own life. I get into a situation where God’s Word says one thing, but the facts that are staring me in the face say another.
How do we get those facts to change and line up with the truth of the Word?
Hebrews 2:18-3:1 (The Amplified Bible), tells us.
For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able (immediately) to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering]. So then, brethren, consecrated and set apart for God...thoughtfully and attentively consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed…
When symptoms in your body scream, “You’re sick! You’re sick!” or, when the figures in your checkbook scream, “You’re broke! You’re broke!”—that’s a good time to…consider Jesus!
Thoughtfully and attentively consider Jesus, not the pain. Thoughtfully and attentively consider Jesus, not your bank account. Get your mind off your flesh, or the natural, and get it over on Him!
Consider Jesus, the One appointed and anointed by Almighty God to be High Priest of your confession, the One given full responsibility and all the resources of heaven to see that your words—His Word spoken out of your mouth—come to pass in the earth. Consider Him!
The Bible says Abraham “considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19). That’s saying a lot when God promised that Abraham would have offspring as countless as the stars, and become the father of many nations.
How was Abraham able to believe God and consider not the natural circumstances that must have been screaming at him? Romans 4:20-21 says, “He staggered not at the promise of God...being fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Abraham had a promise. He had the Word of God. He had the wisdom of God. He had the truth of God on the matter.
Armed with the truth, Abraham changed the facts. He set his course. He went from Abram—a 100-year-old man with no descendants—to Abraham, father of many nations and offspring as numerous as the stars.
Today, you and I are among those descendants of Abraham. And like our father of faith, we have a promise from God. We have His Word. We have His wisdom. We have the truth...in every matter. With that truth we can set our course and change the facts. But those facts certainly won’t change until our tongues change.