It started out well enough, with a nice leisurely horseback ride with my sisters on a Canadian vacation as young adults, but as we came out of the woods, suddenly my previously docile horse took off in a full gallop. I was not prepared for his reckless abandon as I hung on for dear life, certain mine would end abruptly. I can’t say for sure that I wasn’t screaming. As hard as I tried I could not rein in the horse’s sheer power and determination to return to the barn!
This is the picture that came to mind as I was thinking about my tongue recently. It is easier to keep the tongue in check than to give it freedom and then have to rein it in.
If I allow myself the fleshly freedom to speak whatever comes to mind, whether it is kind or not, helpful or not, godly or not, the mere desire to change will not be enough to result in lasting change. I desired to stop that horse! But he was not having it.
To rein in the tongue requires more than simply the desire or simply being silent. Without heart change, silence will only last so long. No, it requires repentance, humility, heart change and yes, a moment by moment choice to restrain my tongue, not saying everything that comes to mind. When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent Proverbs 10:19.
As a daughter of the King, we have a high calling to represent Him well. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen Ephesians 4:29 (NIV). Perhaps if we always keep kingdom purposes in mind we will be more inclined to think twice before we speak. The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer Proverbs 15:28.
May we rein in a galloping tongue and purpose to bless, nourish and empower with our words.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eats its fruits…Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body…Lips of knowledge are a precious jewel…A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 18:21; 16:24; 20:15; 25:11
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.