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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taming The Tongue

Sermon Illustration Video Preview for: Taming The TongueJames 3:7,8 - For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

"For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed"
Consider all of our domesticated animals.  Dogs, cats, cows, horses, donkeys, camels, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, etc….  Then there are the wild animals of every kind that have been tamed and trained by men.
Bears, lions, tigers, monkeys, etc . . . .

Parrots, ravens, owls, cormorants, vultures, osprey, falcons, eagles, etc . . . .


Killer whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, walruses, penguins, etc . . . .

"and hath been tamed of mankind"
It really is a fairly remarkable record of dominion over the beasts of the earth, fowl of the air, and fish of the sea.  We have taken all kinds of wildlife and controlled it, conditioned it, tamed it, and trained it.

"but the tongue can no man tame"
I could tame a bear but not my tongue.

I could tame a killer whale but not my tongue.

I could tame a lion but not my tongue.

I could tame a walrus but not my tongue.

I could tame a falcon or owl but not my tongue.

The first step to victory here seems to be a recognition that I cannot control my tongue.  If I cannot tame it then it requires I look for one who can.  Committing my tongue to the Lord Jesus Christ and submitting its use to the Holy Spirit of God speaking only those things that please the Father.

Psalms 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

"it is an unruly evil"
The word "unruly" is a word that embraces the idea of something that cannot be restrained. 

The tongue is more unpredictable than an unbroken stallion.

The tongue is more vicious than a wild boar.

The tongue is quicker than and eagle swooping upon its prey.

The tongue is more venomous than the most deadly serpent.

The tongue is more ferocious than a lion.

The tongue is more aggressive than a bear.

The tongue is more intimidating than a killer whale.

"full of deadly poison"
This phrase seems to be going back and picking up the reference to having tamed the serpents.  There are a couple of things to note about this.  First, the tongue being full of deadly poison cannot be allowed to strike, again it comes back to control.  Once the poison is injected there is no getting it back.  Now it is only the person who has been bitten that can take steps to limit the effect of the bite.  To follow through with the analogy, having been struck by the tongue of another and the deadly poison begins coursing through our veins an antivenin could and should be administered.  The scripture is loaded with doses of antivenin.  Just a couple of examples should suffice.

Ephesians 4:2 - With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; . . . .

Colossians 3:13 - Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

It is important to realize that it may take multiple doses.  It needs to be administered as quickly as possible.  Time is of the essence.  If allowed to go untreated it festers and becomes spiritually infected and produces a condition known as bitterness which in severe cases actually mutates into hatred.

Someone says, "I can’t believe they said that??  Oh really, remember “in many things we offend all”.  If we believe what the Bible says about the tongue in James three we really should not be surprised at what anyone says.  Rather than bemoan the fact that it was said it is more productive to deal with the deadly poison constructively and administer the antivenin.

This is not meant to excuse the wicked use of the tongue but rather to prepare ourselves for its certainty.  We should be careful to keep our tongue bridled by the Holy Spirit of God.  We should also be diligent to always be carrying antivenin (for the times we become the victim of the deadly poison) and no matter how painful administer repeated doses until the symptoms subside.  Administering the antivenin may be unpleasant but not near as unpleasant as allowing the "strike" to go unattended.

I guess it comes down to two things.  I must submit my tongue to the Holy Spirit of God and always be carrying doses of antivenin for the times when others are struggling to control their own tongues  After all it is a lot that is common to man.  "but the tongue can no man tame".
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