James 3:2 – We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. (NIV)
Our little dog, Peanut, is old. He also has only three teeth, which means that keeping his tongue in his mouth is a full-time job. Without his teeth, it is quick to slip out the sides of his lips, which causes him great frustration and trouble as he tries to get control over it and reel it back in.
Trying to lick things is also a major chore, and he often misses the mark. He doesn't give up, though. He diligently works day and night to discipline this part of his little being to keep it under control.
As I have watched him, laughed at him, and finally come to marvel at his persistence in this matter, God has reminded me time and again how important it is to keep working on reeling in my tongue as well. Unlike Peanut, I still have all my teeth and therefore have no excuse for a slip of the tongue; yet my tongue still keeps slipping. It's like it has a mind of its own some days, the way it takes off and spews out words that leave me feeling guilty, embarrassed, annoyed, or just plain shocked at myself. At such times, I remember not only today's words of James, but also of Jesus, who said, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34b NIV) These words remind me that my tongue only speaks my mind. Paul offers the solution:
Romans 12:2a – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (NIV)
So, if I want to be become more and more adept at reeling in my tongue, and keeping it in, I need to continue to discipline myself to the renewing of my mind through the Word, fellowship with other believers, and prayer. By so doing, more and more, I "will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2b NIV), which does not include slips of the tongue.
Prayer: Lord God, how magnificent and beautiful is the mind of Christ. Bless us this day with motivation to present our bodies to You as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing. Continue to renew our minds, that the words which flow from our tongues will be full of praise, encouragement, and truth, that others, as well as ourselves, will be built up and not torn down by slips of the tongue. In the wonderful name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.