Guarding What We Say

James 3:1-5 ESV

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”

Being a teacher of the Word of God is an awesome responsibility, and not one that anyone should take lightly or should rush into. For, not everyone is called to teach the Word of God. Yet, too many people take it upon themselves to teach the Word when they are not called of God, and when they are ill equipped spiritually for the task, and so they end up leading others astray by their careless and thoughtless words of instruction.

We who teach the Word of God must guard our words carefully when we teach. We must not be quick to say or to write the first thing that comes into our minds, or to express our own thoughts and feelings on a matter. We must pray and ask the Lord for guidance in what to say and in how to say it, and we must not rush ahead if he nudges us to stop and to rethink what we just said. We need to have our hearts and our ears attuned to the Spirit’s voice so that we say what God wants us to say.

For, in our flesh we are capable of sinning with our words if we do not guard our hearts and our tongues. So, we must put a watch over our tongues so that we don’t sin with our words, and so we don’t say to others what will lead them in the wrong direction, or which will cause them harm. And, we must make certain that we are getting our messages from God and not from the flesh of man, for we want to speak the words of life into people, not tickle their itching ears with feel-good messages that leave them still in sin.

James 3:5-12 ESV

“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

I find that, in today’s culture, that putting others down, mocking them, and making fun of them is a regular practice that is modeled on TV or on videos. And, if we aren’t careful, we can get caught up in it, too. For, bad company corrupts good character. And we can be easily persuaded, at times, to be like those we are around the most if we do not guard our hearts and our tongues. And, it can be a continual battle to fight off the temptation to join in conversations that are going a bad way if we are not on guard, too.

So, we must keep our focus on Jesus, and keep our hearts in the right place. And, we must be careful to not jump to conclusions and to not make quick judgments about people. And, if you are on social media, and you daily ingest all the memes on there that are floating everywhere, you must be careful to not jump on board with everything that sounds good, for there is a lot of deception out there. And, there is a lot of mind manipulation and trickery and bait to lure you into traps if you don’t exercise discernment.

And, regarding what comes out of our mouths, the Bible teaches us that what comes out of our mouths comes from the abundance of what is in our hearts. For, out of our hearts can come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and/or slander. (Lu. 6:45; Matt. 12:34; Matt. 15:17-20).

So, what comes out of our mouths is a good indication of what is in our hearts and in our minds, and which may be being lived out through our actions, too. So, our mouths serve kind of as a window into our souls, for they reveal what is hidden in our hearts, which sometimes is stuff we don’t even know is there until it comes out of our mouths. And, then is the time to do a heart examination before God and to rid our hearts of what is leading us to do or to say what is harmful to another.

James 3:13-18 ESV

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Again, what comes out of our mouths is a pretty good indication of what is stored up in our hearts. And, it is from our hearts that can come bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. So, we must get to the root of these matters, and by God’s grace we need to get those things out of our hearts so that we don’t continue to hurt others with our words and with our actions.

For, if we don’t have a heart cleansing, and if we hold on to those things in our hearts, and if we deny them, and then we just keep adding to them and piling on more jealousy, selfish ambition, bitterness, lust and unforgiveness and the like, it will only continue. And, it will only get much worse, and it will only lead to what will continue to hurt us and others. And, it will destroy us and our relationships with God and with others, too.

So, wisdom teaches us that we must get rid of all that leads us into sin. And people often continue in sin because of what is deep down within their hearts which they have not yet brought to the cross of Christ and put it to death. And, wisdom also teaches us to guard our minds and our hearts by guarding what we feed our minds and hearts, too.

For, if we are feeding our minds and our hearts with the junk of the world, and with its attitudes, values and philosophies, and with what is wicked and immoral, and of the flesh and what is selfish, then what we take in is what is going to come out through our attitudes, actions and our words, too. For, it is garbage in, garbage out.

So, again, we must feed our minds and our hearts with what is wholesome, good, pure, honest, moral, upright, godly, kind and loving towards others. And we must feed our minds and hearts with the word of God through the study of God’s word, through listening with our hearts to what the Spirit says to us, and then through obeying what our Lord shows us we must do.

And, then what we produce should be what is good and righteous, full of mercy, and kind, compassionate, reasonable, sensible, and beneficial to our readers or to our hearers.

But this must be in accordance with the word of God and not in accord with the wisdom of man, for the wisdom of man doesn’t usually see eye to eye with God on what constitutes love, kindness, and compassion, and on what is beneficial to others.

For, the wisdom of man is worldly and of the flesh and not of God. And, it thinks about what pleases the flesh, not about what pleases God. And, it thinks about what makes people feel good in the flesh, not about what is truly for their good, i.e. for their well-being, whereas the wisdom of God considers what is ultimately for the good of people, as God defines good.

So, someone who exercises the wisdom of God is going to speak the things God spoke in his word. Thus, he will teach what Jesus taught. He will confront sin in sinful man, call for repentance, and will lead his listeners to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives, and in obedience to his ways – to his design and purpose for our lives.

And, that will result in people being delivered from their bondage to sin and being empowered of the Spirit of God to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, so that they have eternal life with God.

Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet

Frances J Crosby, 1880
William H. Doane, 1876

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool!”
“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.”

Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
He is of great compassion,
And of wondrous love;
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!

He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
“Look unto Me, ye people,”
Saith the Lord your God!
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more.

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9 thoughts on “Guarding What We Say

  1. Oh what our words can do!! If you have ever been on the end of cutting words, you examine what you say and how you say it. Let us always “feed” on HIS word. Honestly we cannot go wrong by placing HIS word upon our hearts. What comes out of our mouths is an indication of what goes into our hearts and minds!
    I do always pray before I post a blog……just that it would touch one person who needs to hear it. Also, I pray for guidance throughout the entire post…… often I pray: LORD, what do YOU need me to say here!!
    You are careful and thoughtful with your posts too……and I very much appreciate it and love reading them. Bless you friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maxine, thank you! All glory to God! Yes, we need to be mindful of what we say, especially when we are sharing what we believe God has given us to write.

      Oh, how often I sit down with a passage of Scripture and I’ll say, “Lord, I have no idea where you want to go with this passage of Scripture. So, you write and I will type.”

      I want his guidance in what I share. I want him to direct me in what to say and in how to say it. And, I am so glad for other bloggers such as yourself who are also looking to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in what you write. Praise the Lord!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie, I think we all struggle with that to some extent. I pray regularly that the Lord will nudge me if I start to say more than I should say. Can’t say I am perfect at it, but I am growing.


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