Do You Need A Bridle?

We all struggle with right speech. There’s just something about our tongues that give us trouble.

Nowhere is that more evident than the words of the Apostle James. James was the (half) brother of Jesus. He grew up in the same house as the Lord but without believing in Him as the Christ. After the resurrection Jesus appeared to James and James believed and became the servant of Jesus Christ.

When James wrote his letter to Christians in general, He did not mention growing up in the household of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. He only mentioned that he was a servant of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

James described the problem we have with speech. We have great difficulty controlling our tongues. He noted that if you can control your tongue, you are mature and control your whole body (James 3:2). James described a horse controlled by a bridle and a ship controlled by a rudder. These “little things” control really big things. Our tongues are little but they cause huge problems.

James also compared the tongue to a spark that begins a forest fire. The spark is small but it causes major damage. “The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison” (James 3:5a-8).

I don’t know about you but I feel I need a bridle for my tongue.

James showed that we have hearts of bitter jealousy and selfishness, leading to bragging or lying to cover up the truth.

Where do we get help?

Seek the wisdom that comes from above, God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom doesn’t cause problems; it solves problems. It is pure, peaceable, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. It guides us to to right relationships and peaceful resolutions (James 3:17-18).

God’s wisdom comes from above and points us to the truth and the light. It helps us see the real world and the big picture.

And it helps us use our tongues for good and for God.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” — Matthew 19:14 (NIV)