Chaplain’s Desk — How’s Your Tongue

How do you talk, whether alone or in public?  Are the words different?  Are the meanings different?   Is you tone different for different people?  Do you take God’s name in vain?  Most of us, especially with that last question would say no.  But how often do we hear people use the word “God” as an exclamation or curse?  OMG has become a lexicon for texters.

When I was young we could not even use the words, “Gee,” or “, “Gosh” because they were too close to “God” or “Jesus.”  Compare that even to many Christians today.  How loose are we with God’s name?

Society has changed and many people feel the Bible should change with it.  The Bible isn’t up to date; it’s just about old things.  Life has changed, people have changed.  We don’t think like that anymore.  We are free to do whatever we want.  Ever hear some of those or similar statements?

1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

God is amazingly patient with all of us.  When we give our lives to Him, Jesus says that if we really love Him we should keep His commandments.  Do you pay attention deep down, to those commandments?  Unlike a judge in a court room demanding order, or a jailer demanding you do something, or a dictator issuing a death decree for not following his orders, Jesus just says in a still, small voice, “Please.”  If you love Me, please act this way.

No matter how much we study scriptures, no matter what bad or what good is going on in our lives, no matter what political situations arise at home or globally, these two verses give us confidence in the One in whom we have believed. Our confidence gives us the power to verbalize our faith as well as walk the way we talk.

This study was originally meant for a church men’s Bible study, but as read the scriptures, the idea is the same for Jew and Gentile, all of God’s people.  Did Moses ever hear God talk to him?   Wasn’t he sure God would answer and do what was asked, or if not, give a reason?  King David often talked to God.  He was sure of God’s power and answers. Isiah, Jeremiah, and others were sure about God hearing us when we pray.

I went through many years where I was very slow to speak up for Christ.  I felt that if I walked the walk that should be enough.  Sometimes it was, but it did nothing for my growth.  I didn’t feel totally stagnant, but I was slow enough that many saw nothing important in me.  Looking back it makes me ashamed of my reluctance.  Unlike Paul I could not proclaim that I was not ashamed of the Gospel.  I have come far from those times.

I believe much of that reluctance to speak stems from my being an introvert from childhood on. I was happy to be alone or when with others I just listened; rarely talked.  My tongue was mostly silent when around people.

I looked up the word tongue in scripture.  It appears 129 times in 126 verses, “tongues” 36 times, and the word “double-tongued” only once.  When God mentions something once it’s important.  When He mentions it more than once, take it to heart; it’s imperative.  Our manner and timing of speech is important to God and to us.

James probably wrote the most memorable words concerning the tongue: James 3:2, 6.  For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.  Guess who sets that fire.

Again James writes: (1:26) If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. The apostle Peter wrote: (1 Peter 3:10) For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.

King Solomon told his students: (Ecclesiastes 3:7-8): a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak;  a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. And later: 9:17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.

Peter wrote: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Again, Peter wrote: 2Pe 3:1  Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder),:2  that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, :3  knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,

What do your words say about you?  How are you looked upon?  One WWII slogan was “Loose lips sink ships.”  Today one might rephrase that and say that your loose lips, your wrong, hurtful  words sink relationships.  Your actions, plus your words are how people look at you and make decisions about you and about your walk with God.  You may not go overseas as a missionary but every believer is a missionary to the world, telling them about our Lord God.

Slightly rewording something from Dr. Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest): “The key to our missionary message Is the remissionary aspect of Christ’s love, and His revealing of the Father to us, not His kindness and His goodness.”

We speak, use our tongues for God’s glory, not ours, as His missionary.  Again from Chambers: “A missionary is one who is wedded to the charter of his Lord and Master; he is not to proclaim his own point of view but to proclaim the Lamb of God.  It is easier to belong to a coterie (a small exclusive group of people who share the same interests) which tells what Jesus Christ has done for me, easier to become a devotee to divine healing, or to a special type of sanctification, or to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Paul did not say, “Woe is me if I do not preach what God has done for me,” but “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.”  This is the Gospel: “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The same tongue can utter praise and curses; the same tongue instructs and demeans; the same tongue can calm or inflame.

So, how are you doing in controlling your tongue?  Do you speak love to those that hurt you?  Do you speak sweet words of encouragement when needed?  Do you hold back when you should not be speaking?  And, if you do speak, does your intonation, your tone of voice sound like one condemning the hearer?

Are your words and actions proclaiming the Gospel, the Bread of Life to others?  God wants to mold you, bake you, so you become good nutritious stuff for other people.  So good things come out of your mouth.  Words of comfort, words of encouragement, and especially words

that tell about the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Let’s all work on watching our tongues.

Waiting patiently for the Lord

  1. Lamentations 3:25-26 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the person who searches for him. It is good to hope and wait patiently for the LORD’s salvation.
  2. Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
  3. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

God is the best listener. You don’t need to shout nor cry out loud because He hears even the silent prayer of a sincere heart! If you aren’t sure about what to say or even if you should, just remember that gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.  Let go and let God.

2Peter 3:1  Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder),

2Pe 3:2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,

2Pe 3:3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,

2Pe 3:4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

2Pe 3:5 For this they willfully forget:

2Pe 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

2Pe 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

2Pe 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness,

Chaplain Bob

About the Author
I have worked with prisoners in a jail and patients in a hospital. I currently teach a weekly Bible study at a nursing home and lead services at another twice a month. I have been in law enforcement and sales all my life. Married nearly 50 years.Author of one book.
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