The Power of the Tongue

James 3:1-12

The tongue is powerful, destructive, uncontrollable, and revealing. We do not have the ability in and of ourselves to control it; therefore, we must trust Jesus to change our hearts and our speech.

1. The tongue is powerful.

2. The tongue is destructive.

“You can’t imagine whole sections of the book of Proverbs being taken up with the use and misuse of the elbow or the toe. But the tongue is an entire ecosystem of sin, a world in itself; continents of wickedness, vast uncharted interiors of any number of evils. The potential for any number of world-changing horrors lies right there in your mouth.” —Sam Allberry

“The tongue is the one muscle of our bodies that we do not fail to exercise thoroughly. It gets a constant workout. Fire spreads everywhere; sparks are constantly flying out of our mouths, spraying in every direction. A bit of innuendo; a harsh word to our parents or spouse; sniping to take someone down; a dash of exaggeration as we recount something to others. It can all seem so harmless at the time. A spark is such a small thing, after all. And yet ‘what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.’” —Sam Allberry

3. The tongue is uncontrollable.

“It’s remarkable. We can do so much, yet we cannot do this little thing. We are reminded of this whenever we see someone powerful brought down by one word that they can’t take back; or when we see someone who’s made a career of watching what they say finally come undone in just one unguarded moment. Whatever we’re able to do with the wildest of beast, we will never be able to do with the contents of our own mouths. It is simply beyond us. If you think your speech is something you can sort out, you are kidding yourself. However successful and able you are, your tongue will never be something you can conquer yourself.” —Sam Allberry

4. The tongue is revealing.

“Bad things don’t produce good things. And so, a person who is not right with God and walking daily in his presence cannot consistently speak pure and helpful words.” —Douglas Moo