Yesterday I wrote about how a sweet, calm temperament and a soft word spoken can help us avoid regrets and prevent strife in our lives. Without a doubt, this ability to control your words and tone comes only with wisdom and maturity.

In the book of James chapter 3, he writes about the real difficulty in controlling the tongue. Contrasting how we can control a strong horse with a small bit in the mouth and direct a large ship with just a small rudder; yet, this tiny little part of our body is an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (3:8) Whoa, that is a significant warning!

All of us have said things that we later regretted. But if you want to control what you say going forward, it’s not about making a vow of silence. Let’s face it, saying “I’ll never speak up again!” just doesn’t work. The same way that you don’t break an unruly horse by keeping it in the barn, or direct a hard-to-steer ship by keeping it tied to the dock, a vow of silence is not the ultimate answer for the misuse of our tongue.

So, if the tongue is like the bit or the rudder in our lives, the question is: Who or what holds the reins, or who or what directs the rudder? Are your reins or rudder loosely held, and you say whatever comes into mind (without thinking)? Or are your emotions in control and you say whatever you are feeling (in the moment)? Perhaps, you are even working hard at this, holding the reins tightly with your own hands… yet find yourself still misusing your tongue.

Our hands are not the answer! James points us towards having the Spirit of God set directing hands on the reins and rudder of our tongues. When He leads us, we will say and do what is right, and this, my friend, is true spiritual wisdom and maturity. Give Him the reins so that He will reign!


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