Taming the Tongue | Importance and Meaning

Taming the tongue entails guarding one’s lips, ensuring that whatever you speak is consistent with God’s Word.

The average person speaks up to 7,000 words per day. But if we’re being honest, not all the words we say are substantial. In fact, out of the 7,000 words, only 500-700 contain actual value. Some of these words are empty, confusing, flawed, and hurtful. The tongue is like a fire that must be tamed to live fruitful and virtuous lives pleasing to the Lord. But what does taming the tongue mean, and how do we do it?

What Does Taming the Tongue Mean?

Taming the tongue means putting a rein on one’s tongue. It entails guarding one’s lips. Taming the tongue also ensures that whatever you speak is consistent with God’s Word. It is crucial to pick our words carefully so that they uplift, bring vitality, and inspire hope whenever possible. One’s words express one’s inner state and heart (Matthew 15:18), whether those feelings are dread and rage or calm, faith, and love. 

Taming the Tongue

What Does the Bible Say About Taming the Tongue?

The Bible acknowledges the power our tongue can wield. Jesus said that what comes out of one’s mouth, not what enters, is what makes him unclean (Matthew 15:11). 

The Bible contains numerous warnings regarding the destructive potential of our words. The Holy Scripture emphasizes the significance of learning to control one’s speech. We can either encourage others or discourage them with our words. We have the option of telling the truth or of lying

Sometimes, we need to communicate more effectively and convey our intended message entirely through our words. The availability of several platforms for communication makes taming the tongue even more vital. Technology’s tremendous potential makes it both a boon and a bane, forcing us to exercise caution in utilizing it. 

But Scripture is not an archaic book that is passé to modern times. The word of God is valid and relevant in all generations and periods.

Bible Verses About Taming the Tongue

1 Peter 3:10

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.

Peter urges his readers to guard their tongues and lips against speaking lies. To maintain this renegade component of the body, we need the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. The tongue prefers to initiate speech before receiving instructions from the brain. Peter says this: if we value our lives and hope for a good tomorrow, we must guard our speech and refrain from telling lies. God hates a lying tongue.

James 1:26

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

If someone claims to be religious yet consistently engages in dishonest behavior and hurtful speech, his faith is meaningless to Him. It’s easy to profess Christianity, yet our actions often speak louder than words. According to Jesus, “evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:18) originate in one’s heart before they ever make it out of one’s mouth (Matthew 15:19).

James 3:5

So also, the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.

A spark from a single conversation, the accidental release of sensitive documents, or a moment of rage can ignite an entire forest. Being tiny doesn’t make one unimportant. Little things like the human tongue pack a mighty punch, proving that dynamite can be found in small packages. Its capabilities span from constructive to destructive. 

Just as “loose lips sink ships” is an ancient Navy proverb, a person’s tongue can also destroy a family, a community, a career, or anything else you can think of. The tongue can be a rogue gun aboard a ship rocked by the waves. It might be helpful, but it can also turn against you instantly if not kept in check.

Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

One instance of self-control can save a lifetime of remorse. People almost always deeply regret their words in a fit of sudden rage. Yet a wise person’s words can frequently mend the wounds caused by rash words. The reckless person is constantly clearing the way by mowing down anyone in their path, but the words of the wise can be a salve that promotes healing from the inside.

Proverbs 15:4

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Solomon concludes his discussion of tongue control with this line from Proverbs. He says a soft tongue brings life but breaks the spirit when used perversely or evilly. People can express either obscenity or grace through the mouth and the spoken word. The tongue’s owner has complete freedom of choice. It’s up to you, but remember the proverb, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools spew out folly.”

Taming the Tongue

Importance of Taming the Tongue

People are profoundly affected by the words we use. One word can destroy someone’s self-esteem and perception of dignity. This wound can follow them around for the rest of their lives. We all have infinite value since we are made in God’s image, but cruel words can cloud the perception of such value. If we do not learn to control our words, the harm we do can haunt people for the rest of their lives and even cause them to stumble in their walk with the Lord.

It is easy to feel like we have no control over what comes out of our mouths when we are not paying attention. Sometimes, you cannot take back your remarks since they sprang out of your mouth before you think they were inappropriate. These situations are but one illustration of why it is essential to learn to control one’s speech. Everyone makes mistakes, but Christians especially need to watch what they say because they reflect Jesus Christ and are instruments of change in the lives of others.

Tips on Taming the Tongue

Know and apply the Scripture.

You can learn much about the force of your words by looking at how the Bible treats and regards the mouth. The Bible is abundant with commands about taming the tongue. As followers of Christ, surrendering our lives to Him also means we make Him our Lord. This surrender means we obey what He commands in every aspect – including our speech.

Be humble in prayer.

The most effective action we can take is to pray for God to use our words for good rather than evil. God desires to use us, but obeying God’s Will comes with casting off our arrogance and evil ways. We must recognize our need for God’s grace and wisdom to help us watch and tame our tongues.

Speak in truth and love.

We can come off as prideful, legalistic, and condescending in our desire to speak the truth. Conversely, in our desire to love and extend grace to others, we might compromise and bend the truth even without our intention. By speaking the truth in love, we acknowledge that we are all sinners, we exercise a fear of the Lord and not a fear of man, and we live out the gospel of Christ.

Ask forgiveness for hurtful words.

We all fumble and say inappropriate things from time to time. Dedicate some time to the Lord in prayer, asking for forgiveness for any hurtful things you may have said. Pray that God would reveal any unkind remarks you may have spoken. Beg His pardon, and then beg the pardon of the person you wronged. Pray for help in controlling your tongue. Decide to grow and to speak more Christ-like words. Commit to improving your speech to proclaim God’s love to the world more effectively.

Do not curse, gossip, or spread lies.

Anger, secrets, and gossip are evil and can all lead to disastrous consequences. The devil is the father of deceit and lies (John 8:44). As Christ’s followers, we are children of light, not darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Therefore, we commit to speech and actions that bring light to the world. Pray that God would keep you from saying something that will damage someone else or cause havoc in their lives. When we focus on the truth, we are considerably less likely to use words that are harmful to others, such as lies, slurs, rumors, and phrases based on fear or malice.

Use your words to bless others.

If we want to utter words that will bring glory to God and accomplish His purpose for our lives, we must use words to uplift, comfort, and inspire others. We encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and spread the Good News of the gospel of Christ to a fallen world (Mark 16:15). 

Taming the Tongue

In Summary

The tongue is a mighty sword. It has the power to both comfort and correct, but it can also leave behind wounds that aren’t always visible or quickly healed. Some words are founded in dread and evil, bringing darkness and misery. Some words are bright and hopeful because they come from a place of deep love. 

Taming the tongue is a Christian command. Our only hope for the mastery of taming the tongue is the indwelling Spirit of God. When we sin with our mouths, He convicts us. The Holy Spirit has a more significant influence over us, even over our speech. Taming the tongue is something He makes possible as we cling to Him and submit to Him in obedience. 

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Alex Shute
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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