The Proper Use Of The Tongue
“For he who would love life and see many good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10, NKJV).
The tongue is a very unique and peculiar organ of the human body. It is an organ that is both internal and external. The dictionary defines it as the fleshy muscular organ in the mouth of a mammal used for tasting, swallowing and (in humans) articulating speech. The Bible has so much to say about the tongue. There is a proper and improper way of using the tongue. As Christians, God expects us to use our tongue well. Below are some proper ways to use the tongue:
GUARD: The Bible says he who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3). The wise man further says that whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble (Proverbs 21:23). Using the tongue wisely will protect our integrity, reputation, relationships, dreams and aspirations, resources, health, life, etc. On the contrary, a misuse of the tongue will expose us to several attacks and much havoc. The Bible says the wise man (even in the face of provocation) guards his tongue and doesn’t spill it all out (Proverbs 29:11). Many have lost opportunities because they don’t guard their tongue.
GUIDE: The tongue is likened to the rudder in a ship. The rudder is a critical part of the steering system of a ship (James 4:3). It’s a very small part of a monstrous ship, and yet it directs, guides and navigates the big ship according to the will and wishes of the captain of the ship. Our tongue is the steering wheel of our lives. It determines the direction our life goes. The Amplified version of the Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words” (Proverbs 18:21). The gospel truth is that our words have consequences and shape the direction of our lives. We can steer and navigate our lives in the direction we want it to go by purposefully and deliberately utilizing our tongue. Being made in the image of God and having His Spirit in us make our words very powerful.
GIRD: The word gird is associated with the word girdle. A girdle is an article of dressing that women wear in order to look smart, trendy, fit and prepared. To gird means to prepare oneself for battle or for what is ahead. Our tongues must always be poised and prepared for action in the face of great opportunities and challenges. Blind Bartimaeus’ tongue was ready and prepared when Jesus was passing by. He used his tongue to stop Jesus in His tracks and to secure the healing of his eyes (Mark 10:46-52). The young David’s tongue was poised and ready for battle when he stood before Goliath at the valley of Elah. As Goliath cursed him (i.e. David) with his gods, David retorted and began to address Goliath in warfare rhetoric and in the name of the Lord. Our tongue is a weapon of warfare; we are to use it to neutralize every negative tongue rising against us (Isaiah 54:17).
GAUGE: A gauge is a measuring device or instrument. Our tongues also serve as the gauge of our lives. We are evaluated by the words we speak and we also evaluate people by the words they speak. We don’t know the intents and thoughts of people but we largely know people by what is coming out of their mouths. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Wise people set a guard upon their tongues, knowing they are judged by their words. Wise people also weigh people largely by the words they speak. Our words are to be seasoned with salt, ministering grace to our hearers.
CONCLUSION: The next member of the body God intends to capture after the heart is the tongue. No wonder the manifestation and expression of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was in the symbol of tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of fire. A yielded and sanctified tongue is a great asset to God Almighty. To live long and to see many good days, we are advised to refrain our tongues from evil and deceitful speaking.