Guarding Our Tongues

July 24, 2019 at 12:21 PM 2 comments

Note: This post may seem a bit convoluted, but please bear with me. I’m working through this myself, so it may seem somewhat disjointed. It may also end up being several installments.

James has a lot to say about what we do and say. His epistle is filled not with pithy sayings but with Scripture; truth that speaks from God’s heart to ours. While some have accused him (even during his day) of emphasizing “works” over “grace,” the reality is that he did not do this. He spoke of the practical application of our faith in daily living. If we profess to know Jesus and have received His salvation, then consequently, the actions in our lives and the words of our mouth (not to mention the thoughts of our hearts), should clearly line up with God’s will, not ours. In other words, the world needs to see and hear our testimony as defined by Scripture. Today, however, it is too often erroneously defined by the world’s understanding of “love,” which is usually a nauseating feeling that emphasizes absolute acceptance of everything under the sun.

No Christian or Old Testament saint actually lived like this. They generally stood out as individuals who were dedicated to the Lord and His purposes. Sure, we have Lot, who fell in with extremely sinful people and even tried to make the best of it. The best part of Lot’s testimony was just before God’s angels destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. When push came to shove, Lot stood with God, though there were plenty of imperfect decisions in his life both before Sodom and afterwards.

Any Christians who teaches or believes that God put us here to fulfill our wildest dreams (getting rich, becoming a star/celeb, becoming a best-selling author, becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, etc.), simply doesn’t understand who God is and what His purposes are all about. I’m not saying, by the way, that Christians cannot be those things, but I firmly believe that God puts some of His children in those positions to be a beacon of light to the lost. He does not put us in those positions to feed our self.

James paints a picture of an established, mature Christian in his epistle. Let’s take a look at a few sections of Scripture.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21 ESV)

James outlines what our demeanor in the world and in our homes should be. We should be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Why? James answers the question for us. He says the anger of human beings does not produce the righteousness of God, because our anger is normally born of our own sin. Are you? Am I?

His point is this: there are things in this world that are bound to tempt us to become angry and if we allow our human anger to move us along in either word or deed, we will be walking in unrighteousness. At that point, we will have broken fellowship with God. When we are out of fellowship with God, it can really affect us, our loved ones and of course, our testimony. James is not speaking of righteous indignation. He is speaking about human anger, which, when left unguarded, causes us to say and do things that are sinful. Interestingly enough, these reactions do not need to be outward either. They can be in our minds. Even there, these angry reactions can cause us to think things that are unwholesome. We might have a conversation in our minds with someone whom we felt has wronged us. Just because we are not saying it aloud does not mean that it is not sinful.

I’ve begun to notice that my reaction to negative situations – whatever they may be – is not what I actually want it to be. My reaction might just be something that I “say” in my head, but God sees/hears that and it is just as sinful in my head as if I spoke it aloud, isn’t it? I’m not talking about thoughts that simply “wander through” our minds. I’m talking about the thoughts that we begin to focus on and embellish. We’ve made a choice there.

This got me thinking. I’m tired of hearing myself react to something inside my mind, even though I don’t say it out out loud. I’m really getting tired of it. What do I do? Well, let’s continue to see what James says.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (vv 26-27)

Ah, there’s the key – the “tongue.” It’s almost easy to take James’ words here to mean what comes out of our mouths so that others actually hear it, but I don’t think he means just that. Yes, it is included but where do terrible thoughts START? Normally they begin in our hearts and minds, don’t they? We have a negative feeling towards someone and our minds go to work on a “conversation” with them. You’ve done it and so have I.

What is Paul’s response to this? “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV). Notice he says that we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Every thought? Yes, unfortunately, every thought. Let me again reiterate that I am completely imperfect at doing this and I believe if we can take control of our minds, we would be well on our way to speaking and living the truth of Christ, bringing Him much glory.

If we are unable to keep a strong leash on our tongues, we “deceive” our hearts. What did Jesus say about the heart? “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:18 ESV) Jesus is clearly saying that the mind/heart is where trouble can brew. What we often say on the outside is merely a reflection of what is often in our hearts. So even if we produce a great facade, we can fool others into thinking we’ve got it all going on, but God knows and in those moments of honesty, we know too, don’t we?

If our reaction to a negative situation is one that causes us to say something (either in our minds or with our mouths – remember, God hears BOTH), because of the darkness often contained in our own hearts. God has declared me “righteous” because Jesus’ own perfect righteousness has been imputed to my account the moment I received salvation. That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Yes, but guess what? While I’m labeled (and even seen) as righteous by God Himself, my life needs constant work and looking after.

We all experience situations that can drive us nuts and get on our nerves. I see my own reaction to external situations and I am not at all pleased with my reactions some times. It’s not that I say anything to people. It’s that I have ugly thoughts and in a flash, those thoughts can become dominate in my mind. Because of that, it is easier to be carried along by these ugly thoughts and react in my mind in a way that does not bring glory to God. If I continue to leave it unchecked, it might not be long before I actually say something aloud. But to be clear, the sin began in my heart/mind even if I never actually say anything. Of course, if I never say anything that can be heard by others, it is me sinning in my mind, which does not necessarily affect other people. If, on the other hand, I allow my mind’s ugly thoughts to take control so that I say something out loud, then I have sinned against them and God, which might require me to apologize to them.

Ugly thoughts can result in an expression of anger. Anger, as James says does not produce God’s righteousness. It simply produces sin.

But I had another thought or two about this. I fully understand that there is no direction in Scripture that tells us to pray silently as opposed to praying aloud when we commune with God. We can do either. I find when I pray out loud, I tend to stay on track better.

But this led me to an important question regarding what Satan (and by Satan, I mean either him or his minions of fallen angels), can hear. Can he hear me when I pray out loud? Of course, if he’s around since he can only be in one place at one time and I doubt that he pays much attention to me. However, it is likely that some of his messengers do notice and do try to put things in my head and are hoping that I’ll sin because of it.

There is also nothing in Scripture that says Satan or his fallen angels can actually read our thoughts. In order to do that, he/they would have to have omniscience going for them and that’s only God’s department. He alone is omniscient.

This, however, does not mean Satan/fallen angels are not a good judge of human beings. After all, they’ve been watching us and learning about us since the Creation. It’s very likely that they are pretty adept at figuring out what affects our moods even if we hide those facts from others. It is likely that Satan/fallen angels is very good at discerning information about what is on our minds by watching our exterior expressions, the way we carry ourselves, and what we say out loud. I think that’s a safe bet.

All of this got me to wonder whether James said what he said so that we could understand that how we think can promote certain attitudes within us that are too often visible on our faces. If a person is angry, it generally shows on their face. If they are happy, the same applies.

How can Christians be “happy” or joyful while even going through bad circumstances? The only way I know how from Scripture is to focus more on God’s Word, His truth! Honestly, I’ve been dealing with a few things of late that are not at all palatable. Certainly, the enemy realizes it and with God’s permission, may be ramping things up against me. Of course, it is incumbent upon me to not give into the human desire to become angry over it. How do I do that?

Again, the only way I know how is to hide God’s Word in my heart. Are you memorizing Scripture? If not, why not? That’s like going to a gun fight with no bullets. You will lose.

I’ve decided to up the ante for myself by endeavoring to memorize more Scripture than I already do. Isn’t this what Jesus did and used as ammunition against Satan in Matthew 4? If He needed to do that, how much more do we?

If we are to be successful in guarding our tongues, it must start with how we think and what we actually hide in our hearts. That’s really where the rubber meets the road. By the time something comes out of our mouths, it’s already gone through our minds having its origin in our hearts.

I want to come back with a second part of this subject. I want to talk about how the Bible teaches us to effectively resist the devil. Is it done by our will? Is it done another way?

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism. Tags: , , .

Is President Trump Racist? Guarding Our Tongues, Part 2

2 Comments

  • 1. Guarding Our Tongues, Part 3 | Study - Grow - Know  |  July 26, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    […] you’re just picking up this series with this article, I suggest you go back to article 1 and start from there, through article 2. Together, they will show how we got to this point in the […]

  • 2. Guarding Our Tongues, Part 2 | Study - Grow - Know  |  July 25, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    […] our previous article in this series, we introduced the facts of Scripture that demand that we guard our tongues. In fact, we noted that […]


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