When You Open Your Mouth…

Don’t you often feel as though we have more of a voice than we ever have had before?

Social media platforms enable us to vocalise (in writing) so many things, so very often – anonymously if we wish. We can splash every opinion we have quickly and easily to a ‘listening’ audience.

The dawn of this kind of media has made us bold.

Sometimes we are bold and full of grace, but often we are not.

I have seen many opinions, often given in Jesus’ name, thoughtlessly plastered everywhere. ‘It’s my right to freedom of speech’ is a thoroughly modern mantra as we impose our ideas and ideals, thoughts, opinions, judgements on an audience captive to its smartphone.

As we start looking at James chapter 3 this week, we will see very quickly the warnings he gives us about how we use our tongue – how we use our voices.


Taming the Tongue


When we think of something being ‘tamed’, what springs to mind? A wild animal? An unruly hairstyle?

Taming is what happens when you change something from a disorderly and uncontrollable state into a submissive and docile one. It becomes subdued.

So why should we seek to this with our tongues, with our voices?

James goes to some length to illustrate to us the role our tongue can play. Small, yes…powerful? Also.  He uses the image of a bridled horse and a ship at sea to remind us how small things can set the larger thing off-kilter. So the tongue is to the body. When a horse-rider uses a bridle, and when a ship’s captain controls the rudder, then so are they in control.

A wandering, reckless, out-of-control tongue is a caution indeed.


A word out of your mouth may seem of no


An Untamed Tongue


Think about the small things for a minute. How the small things can have the greatest impact.

One light switch flicked lightens up or darkens down a whole room.

One small key turned makes a car engine roar to life.

One small spark sets a forest on fire.

A tongue is as a switch, a key, a spark. Our voices can lighten, bring life and inspire throngs of people.

But the same voices, when they are not bridled, or submissive, or docile are equally capable of bringing darkness, death and starting fires that ravage.


Life Voices


Friends, we need wisdom. We need the help of the Holy Spirit here to know how and when to use our voices.

It’s our voices that God can use to speak light into dark places, to whisper encouragement to the discouraged, to bring hope to the lost…our voices can pack a punch, it just has to be the right punch, laced with grace and compassion, sewn together with love and mercy, stitched up with a heart that overflows for bringing something better into someone else’s life.

We would do well to know when our voices must be strong and loud, beating God’s drum, and when they must be hushed to sweet silence.

Let’s read today James 3:1-5


Thoughts for Today


  1. How are the images of a horse and ship helpful in helping us understand the power our tongues – voices- have?
  2. In what ways can we take practical steps to ensure our voices glorify God first and do not simply serve our own agendas?
  3. What personal challenges does this passage present to you and what steps can you take to overcome them?

Prayers for Today


  • Pray specifically for the way you will use your words today – asking God to help you be more aware of how you use them and show you where you need to change.
Grace and Love
Helen x



  1. […] When You Open Your Mouth… […]


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