The power of the tongue

Ken Silva


James 3:3-6

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.


James uses great verbal imagery in these passages of scripture. He uses the analogies of a horses bit and the rudder of a ship. Both of these things are small in comparison to the object they are directing. They both have a large influence on the direction the horse or the ship are taking. The tongue is relatively small in comparison to the entire body. James is reminding us of the influence the tongue has for positive or destructive purposes. If we are in control of what we say we have a better chance in being control of the things we do. If we are diligent in our speaking, learning Godly ways of speaking, we can also be diligent in other areas of our lives. As James uses the example of a spark spreading into a wildfire, the tongue and the words we use can spread harm and destruction. Gossip, harsh words, criticism can cause separation in families, friendships and in our work place.


As I'm doing my devotions I keep hearing Pastor Sheldon's voice talking about "what love looks like". Along with that I need to be aware of "what love sounds like". I have the ability to build up or tear down those I love with my words. When I speak to my wife am I speaking in a loving, caring way? As I interact with my kids are my words supportive and encouraging? At work am I patient, friendly and cooperative with my co-workers. If not, then I need to be mindful of the words I say and the impact they have on others.


Dear Lord if I have hurt anyone with my words I ask for your forgiveness and I pledge to make it right with those I've offended. I ask for your guidance and discernment in the things I say and do. Help me to think before I speak, to respond to others in love not selfishness. Please never let me forget the power of the tongue and the words I speak. Help me to begin today Lord to be the man you've designed me to be, to be renewed in your image through your love. Amen.

Devotions for July 19

2 Kings 17
2 Chronicles 28
Psalms 46
James 3

Start Doing Devotions

Devotions are an important part of everyday life. Click here to learn how to do devotions.