trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Rooted in Christ

Mighty Mouth

FAITH AT WORK: Devotions through the book of James

“The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.” (James 3:5, ESV) 

When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were cartoon time. I assumed my role as couch potato and gave myself over to the mind numbing world of animation. Tom, Jerry, the Jetsons, Snagglepuss, Quickdraw McGraw, the roadrunner and others became familiar friends. One friend in particular was a pint-sized powerhouse named Mighty Mouse. With the abilities of Superman, the flying rodent would swoop in to save the day. 

James alerts us to another diminutive denizen that we would be foolish to disregard. In chapter one, he urged us to bridle the tongue. Now here in chapter three James warns us to make sure that bridle is secure because if the tongue is not held in check it can do exceeding damage. 

James frames his warning against the backdrop of the teacher, reminding us that teachers wield great influence through their tongues, and need to be circumspect in what they say. Teaching can be like a stone cast in a pond, sending ripples of influence through those directly and later indirectly impacted. 

James illustrates the power of the tongue by likening it to the bit put in the mouth of a horse or a small rudder that can steer a large ship. Just think, your capacity to speak can have great significant and lasting consequence on others, beginning with those closest to you. Your words can build up or tear down, set the tone and plot the course. The rudder serves the will of the boat pilot, meaning we need to be intentional in our speech and circumspect in our conversation. 

The untamed tongue is particularly prone to boasting. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:5). Why would James identify boasting as the incendiary device in the explosiveness of the tongue? How does boasting contribute to the volatility of our speech? 

James helps us when he analyzes the components of boasting: “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth” (James 3:14). We’ll address this text in another devotional, but here we can note the negative, self-centered, self-serving, destructive nature of self-glory. 

At issue is seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness as opposed to seeking to exalt ourselves at the expense of others that our own kingdoms can be built at the expense of others. All of us carry the inclination to road rage as we run the race set before us and need to be guarded in our going. 

1. How would James respond to the platitude that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?

2. Why does James draw attention to the size of the tongue? 

“Father, set a guard over my mouth. May my words be a wellspring of life.”

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.