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Jul 12, 2020 | Randy Gunter

Surrendered Heart, Submitted Tongue

Surrendered Heart, Submitted Tongue

We are all accountable to God for our words; he more strictly judges teachers. 

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. (James 3:1-2a ESV) 

Teachers have the opportunity to have a remarkable impact on people.

There is no higher calling and mission than to be a teacher of God’s holy truths. The Bible states that if anyone desires to be a pastor, he desires a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1). However, James tells teachers to tread cautiously. He is not discouraging people from God’s purpose for their lives—Christians gifted to teach should teach. But God requires that we be genuine and acutely aware of the accounting before him.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

Our tongues reveal a battle for our hearts.

And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (James 3:2a ESV)

God is purposeful to produce steadfastness in us that we may be perfect and complete in him (1:3-4).

The person who submits to Christ—his word, will, and way— will reveal his submission by his mouth. …Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 ESV)

God’s Spirit can affect our hearts to the point that our tongues can be tamed.

James gives two illustrations: 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 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. (James 3:3-4 ESV)

Like a horse bit or a ship rudder, one who controls his tongue can control the whole body.

If we let our tongues flap without direction or control, then our lives will be aimless and out of control, too.   

Our tongues are comparatively small but often talk too big.

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. (James 3:5a ESV) 

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 ESV)

Our tongues not only reveal our hearts; they can corrupt them.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 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. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:5b-8 ESV)

God’s description of the human tongue is bleak:

  • A world of unrighteousness
  • Staining the whole body
  • Setting on fire the entire course of life
  • Set on fire by hell
  • Restless evil
  • Full of deadly poison
  • Untamable by human effort

Jesus can transform our hearts, direct our lives, and empower us to control our tongues.

9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:2b-12 ESV)

We need to recognize our need to be made new in Jesus Christ. Every person needs to be made new in Jesus. In each of us, the work of Christ needs to be evident as he purifies hearts and sanctifies mouths.

Series Information

An in-depth study of the book of James. 

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