Hiding behind those pearly white masticators lies a seemingly innocuous appendage which, if left unchecked can spew iniquity and poison in such an unbridled manner that it often surprises the very person in which this little monster dwells. Within the pages of the Holy Writ, God has addressed the problematic use of this small, oftentimes treacherous organ. Scripture after scripture, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament admonishes us about the wicked use of our tongue. In the beginning, it was this pint-sized flexible piece of furrowed tissue that was used by Satan to tempt Eve. Christians for the most part make a concentrated effort to bridle this little monster, however there are some areas that according to scripture we either accept as so called acceptable sins or just do not take into consideration that we are not giving honor and glory to the Lord in what we allow to come out of our mouth. Let’s examine the Word of God and learn what the Lord has to teach us about our mouth and tongue.
First of all, we need to recognize that God gave us our mouth. In Exodus 4:11 God asked Moses “Who made man’s mouth, have not I the Lord”? Therefore it would seem that the primary function of our mouth is to praise God; share the Gospel; and sing unto the Lord with gladness. In addition we should use our mouth to encourage, admonish, and comfort the Brethren. It needs therefore, to be a vessel unto good works, edifying and Christ honoring.
Our heavenly Father, the Omniscient God, knew that we would have major problems with the use of our tongue in that we would be tempted to use it for wicked and self serving purposes. He peppered his Word with an abundance of warnings and admonitions on the sins of the tongue. As we begin this journey let us consider the convicting fact that our speech is a window to our heart. In Matthew 12 and Luke 6 God reminds us that from out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Do you ever wonder where those ‘slips’ of the tongue come from? Well, now we know! Matthew 15 elaborates by stating in verse 18 that those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart. Walk with me as we tour God’s Word and learn more about this matter.
Our first stop will be to visit our friend Job. In chapter 15, Eliphaz admonishes Job in verse 6: “Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee”. Samuel instructs us in chapter 2: 3, that we are not to let pride and arrogance come out of our mouth for God will weigh our actions. The Book of Psalms as well as the Book of Proverbs contain many admonitions regarding the wicked use of our mouth, lips and tongue. Among these include instructions to bridle our tongue to prevent us from lying, cursing, deceiving and flattering. Our throats can become open sepulchres for filth and wickedness. In Psalm 59:7 God shares that there are those who belch out with their mouth; that swords are in their lips. It is well worth our time and effort to study James chapter 3, which is devoted to instruction on controlling the tongue. For the most part, these oral sins are directed toward mortal folk whom we encounter in our pilgrim walk. It must be exceptionally grievous to the Lord when these same atrocities are directed toward Him.
Matthew 15:8 Stated that this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. I refer to these folks as the “praise God’ers.” Their facade of being spiritual is deceiving in that they talk the walk, but do not walk the talk. Another group of folks which most assuredly anger the Lord are those who use their mouth that God created to preach a perverted Gospel. We can usually recognize these folk in that they promote the “God is Love”, “end of story doctrine. ” Many of these deceivers are using the Bible to become famous and wealthy, bringing honor to themselves and not the Lord Jesus. Normally, attempts to lovingly rebuke those who practice these heresies are met with anger and hostility. The Lord will deal with them, for sure. Now let’s get more personal by dealing with the application of the truths from Holy Writ in our individual Christian walk.
We are given instruction in Psalm 141:3, that we are to set a watch before our mouths; to keep the door of our lips. The words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts are to be acceptable in the sight of God. Ecclesiastes 5 admonishes us to: “suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin”. It is written that he that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life; but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. We are to purpose in our heart that we will not transgress with our mouth. In closing, when we are tempted to sin with our tongue we should take heed to the practice of the Nobles in Job 29:10, “their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.”