The New Forest, where we now live, is described as a place 'Where people and nature live harmoniously together'. To ensure the continuation of this everyone is asked to follow a simple code of behaviour. Fire regulations are stringent because uncontrolled forest fires are a great threat. Despite this, every year destructive fires affect the area, needing dozens of fire fighters to tackle them.
Wild fire is one of the most destructive natural forces known to mankind. A tiny spark can kindle a forest fire which may blaze for a considerable time and smoulder for even longer. Speech is equally dangerous. Our text for today tells us that the tongue has enormous power for harm when used wrongly. The effects of it can run riot. The tongue can be devastating and destructive. It is a 'world of evil' and the source of speaking evil against others is the devil. Isn’t it a sobering fact that the tongue can be the instrument of Satan himself to bring about harm to others and disrepute to God’s kingdom?
We all make mistakes in some ways, but in our words we make them more easily than in any other way. Once words are spoken they cannot be retracted. They may spark fires of anger and hurt that people never recover from.
The tongue can be a force for good or evil. Out of the same mouth we may bring blessing or curse; praising God, yet speaking against those made in His image (James 3:9). But the more evil a tongue speaks, the more it defiles the person who speaks it.
Our speech identifies where we are in our relationship with God – it reveals our heart, our inner character. Jesus said, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, whether good or bad." (Luke 6:43-45). What the tongue says is matched by what the heart thinks. Little wonder the Bible so plainly warns of misuse of the tongue, because it can lead to the loss of things we hold precious, and they may be irretrievable.
Why not make Jesus Lord of your heart today. Where He reigns, and is at home in our heart, words we speak are brought under the control of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us when we speak ill of others.
Prayer: Search me O God, and know my heart today. If words that I have spoken have been offensive to You I ask You to convict me and to forgive me. Please show me my hidden faults. I want my heart to be a place where Jesus is at home, forming His character in me, so that the words I speak and the way I live will bring blessing to others and will honour You. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
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