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The Tongue - Part 2

With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3:9-12 (NKJV)

I remember being on a construction site years ago, and I overheard some guy cussing up a storm.  Another guy there asked him, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”  The point was clear—his language was foul, and he was being held somewhat accountable, if only through a rhetorical question.  

James confronts this use of the tongue by saying, “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so”(vs. 9-10).  He then gives a perfect analogy for this not being correct among Christians when he says, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?”(v. 11)

James is confronting the hypocrisy of the unfaithfulness of the tongue when it is used to praise God, and then is used to curse man, who was made in the image of God.  As sad is it may sound, I believe every believer is probably guilty of this at some point.

Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NKJV)

We can see throughout the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and the Book of John, where zealous Pharisees often praised God, and yet they were the very ones who cursed Jesus, and even urged the Roman government to crucify Him.

It wasn’t just the Pharisees though—Peter had already confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and yet when he was confronted the night of Jesus’ arrest, we’re told, “he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” (Matt. 26:74)  So, Here is Jesus’ disciple praising God in one moment and cursing at people the next – James tells us these things ought not be so

But we must be clear here, the tongue is only going to reveal our heart—It is a built in tattle-teller and will share with others what is present in the heart, whether good or bad.   King David knew this very well and sought God for help, knowing God was the only way.   Listen to what he prayed as outlined in Psalm 141:3—

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

David was also very aware of the danger brought upon by his enemy’s tongue, and he gave us a great example to follow as he sought the Lord in Prayer—asking God to defend him from the verbal attacks of those who sought to harm him by speaking evil (Psalm 64).

Let’s never underestimate the power of prayer.  God wants to deliver us from every iniquity we face including using profanity.  It is only by God’s grace, and His power we can achieve His will (John 15:5).

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from James 3:9-12 with regards to the use of our tongue when praising God and cursing others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find yourself tempted to curse others when you get frustrated at their hurtful, and inconsiderate actions?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Let’s seek the Lord when we find ourselves tempted to use our tongue for evil.  Let’s cast down the thought to respond in an evil way, and begin to acknowledge this is a temptation from the enemy to sin.

LET’S PRAY: Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of our sin.  Father, we are sorry for those times we have freely chose to say unedifying things about those who offended us.  Help us to remember these principles written in this devotional when the enemy tempts us to speak forth evil things.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000