James 3:5 (NLT)
5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
If you ever want to know how far you have grown in your Christian walk, just pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth. Not just what you say, but how you say it and when you say it. Listen to see how often you obey Holy Spirit when He tells you to be quiet or when He gives you the right words to say, but you decide to choose your own.
For many, many, many, years in my Christian walk I simply could not pass the tongue test. No matter how hard I tried, I just had to have the last word or the best word or the funniest word or the most sarcastic word. It did not matter how it made the other person feel or how it made me look. It was just important that I had the last word. I guess I could blame this on my natural bent. My mom says for as long as I could talk, my having the last word was always a point of contention in our relationship. Being the old school disciplinarian that she was, I was more than familiar with the back
hand scolding across the lip . My classroom days were no different. Whether under my breath or spoken out loud, I just had to be heard. By the time I got married, at the tender age of 19, I was a force to be reckoned with. To this day, forty-four years later, there is not one conversation that my husband and I have had where he was able to out talk me. And I wore this distinction as a badge of honor. Little did I know the damage that it was doing until Holy Spirit began to do the talking. And trust me, He did not need to use a lot of words to make his point.
Our text says that our tongue is small thing that can say a lot. But whether we say one word or many, just one word (a tiny spark) can set a great forest on fire! Now you know, the bible don't lie!!! When I tell you how many fires I started with just ONE word, I don't think there is enough water in the Mississippi River to extinguish all of them. It is shameful to say from this "tongue-talking" saint. It's little wonder that it took my husband so many years to be "moved" by the other good words that were coming from my tongue like when I prayed and preached. None of those words were good enough to put out the fire that I had started in our marriage. Thank God those days are over!!!
Today was a different day. I was unexpectedly put into a situation where I had to help him with a project. Now, I knew from the beginning that this project was too much for him. I knew that he was going to need help beyond his expertise but he was certain that he could do it himself. As he gave me instructions on going to get this or that, I quietly assisted. There were so many moments when I could have said just one word that would have negatively altered the atmosphere and done great damage to his manly ego. But this time, I called on my Helper, Holy Spirit. I asked Him to help me to just hold my tongue and to manage my attitude. It was very clear to me, from past experience, that this project would work itself out. It was not life changing and certainly did not hold more value than having peace in my house.
Well, sure enough, the project got the best of him and my tongue did not get the best of me. I PASSED THE TONGUE TEST...today! I say today because I know that there will be many more opportunities where I will be tempted by my flesh to speak when it would be best to be quiet. Or I will be tempted to say something other than what Holy Spirit will give me to say. So, I cannot rest on the laurels of today. I can rejoice in it for a moment but it is just a fleeting victory. I can put no confidence in my flesh. After all, I have to go home to the unfinished project, so pray my strength in the Lord. LOL