Three Ways To Keep Your Tongue From Sin

It’s unusual for me to only read one verse of Scripture during my morning quiet time, but that’s what happened this week.

This verse stopped me in my tracks.

In my job, everything I do requires words. I write, read, speak and listen. Without words, life is just pictures, and while pictures are great, I need words!

During my Psalms study this weekend, I started reading in Psalm 39. And I stayed in that first verse for ages.

I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. Psalm 39:1

I wonder what prompted David to write these words. Had he said something in anger or been hurt by someone else’s words? Was there something said that he wished he could take back? Did he resolve to not speak in the evil ways of the people around him?

Whatever the situation was, David committed himself to being acutely aware of what words he chose to speak. He would take heed, he would pay attention, to the way he spoke. How often do we speak before we think? How many times each and every day do we say the first thing that comes to our mind and let it spew?

The reason behind David’s resolve was simple - he set watch at the door-gate of his mouth because he didn’t want to sin with his words. It’s so difficult to keep the tongue in check, but David didn’t want his words to be sinful in any way. The power of our words can bring life or death, and he wanted his to be healing and uplifting, even when the person across from us is letting it fly.

So how do we keep our own tongue from sin? We use David’s one verse here as a model.

1. Take heed: For one whole day, pay attention to the words you speak. Do they come pouring out, or do you have control over them. Are they positive words or negative words? Do they come in multitude, or are they few but powerful?

2. Be aware: Words can be sinful. They can gossip, wound, mislead, trick, lie and cut down. Check out your speech patterns and see if anything you say is sin. You can’t do anything to change your way until you know what your ways are.

3. Bridle your mouth: We put bridles on horses to give us control over what they do and where they go. This applies to your mouth, too. Don’t let your words go wandering off by themselves, wherever they feel like going. Bridle them, control them and choose them wisely.

This week I pray that we’ll be the masters of our words, that we’ll think before we speak. Then we can get out of the way and let God use our words for His honor and glory.


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