The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:1, ESV)
People plan and re-plan. We make all kinds of plans, but what really matters is whether our tongues are submitted to the Lord. You may ask, Why do I need the Lord to direct my tongue? The apostle James had a lot to say about the tongue:
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26, ESV)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6–8, ESV)
Clearly, James had seen a lot of pain and suffering caused by people whose tongues were weapons. He writes very forcefully, telling his readers that someone whose tongue is unbridled and whose heart is deceived has a worthless religion! Unless the Lord tames our tongues, they are “fire, restless evil and poisonous.” James’ clear warning is vividly presented in The Message version of James 3:6 – “By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”
Ask yourself who or what controls your tongue? Is it your emotions or desires? Is it God? Many relationships are ruined in a moment because somebody did not or would not get control of their tongue. My mouth has gotten away from me countless times. What kinds of words are coming out of your mouth? Are they pleasing to God? Are your words consistently seeking the good of others?
Lord, help me to get hold of my tongue. Help me to build others up with words of encouragement. I want to give you the plans in my heart and the words in my mouth.… Continue praying.
P. Brian Noble