A new talk and a new walk is badly needed in our world. James wrote that the tongue is like a fire. This is a scripture that I referenced in my sermon last week – Shielded and Protected. So, why a fire? Fire, when it is under control, can be a blessing to us. We are able to cook with it, mold metal with it, and warm up a home with it. Yet, at the same time, an untamable fire can be very destructive and destroy lives. Solomon likened the power of the tongue to that of the power of fire when he wrote that death and life are in the tongue (Prov. 18:21).
Cycle of the Tongue
Let’s talk about our tongue for a moment and why it is so powerful. From the tongue comes the teaching of doctrines. We are indoctrinated by what we are taught from the time we are babies and into our adult years. Our parents (or elder figures) indoctrinate us with what they believe is morally right and morally wrong. We are taught and indoctrinated with the lessons that they have learned in their life.
The indoctrination of the tongue begins with our parents, but continues as we grow up. We are taught things by our friends, acquaintances, and several other people as we grow. I grew up with radio, television, and video games and the tongue was busy indoctrinating through those sources. The kids in my niece’s generation and the little kids of today grow up with that and the internet. My point here is that the world plays a role in indoctrinating us as well.
Some of us were brought up in the church and others were brought up in whatever their religion may be. So, there is a doctrine of faith and a doctrine of religion that also happens. In this cycle, the child becomes the adult that uses their tongue to indoctrinate the next generation. As a minister and preacher of the gospel of Christ, there is a responsibility of our tongue that often goes ignored. James writes that there is condemnation for those that preach or teach the wrong thing (Jas. 3:1).
The tongue puts thoughts into action
With that in mind, we as preachers and teachers of the gospel should take great care in how we use our tongue (our voice). Even those who are not teachers or preachers, those even who are not a part of the church, should take great care in the things they say. What we have been indoctrinated with is what we feed our spirit with. So, at the same time, what you say to others (or teach or preach) is consumed by their spirit.
What is consumed in the spirit begins to be put into thought. Jesus said (Matt. 12:34), “For out of the abundance of the heart (the spirit) the mouth speaks.” In other words, the things that are put into thought, the tongue will relay. The tongue puts thoughts into action!
A world on fire
As I look around at our world today, I tell you that our world is on fire. Have you recognized that the world is burning? James said in our key verse today, “[the tongue] sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” The tongue has sparked many fires in our world, some which have been burning for a long time. These fires all began because of the doctrine that had been indoctrinated in the hearts of children.
Though some have received the gospel of the Lord, others received the doctrine of the world and hold on to it. There are some who believe they have been indoctrinated with the gospel, but in their actions there is no sign that Christ is in their hearts. Wickedness bred wickedness and hatred bred hatred. We often think that wickedness is put into the world by those outside the church, but there are many cases where it was bred under the cloak of faith in the Lord!
Many fires in our world today are still burning because the vision of those who fan the flames are of wickedness and hatred. Jesus said to beware of false prophets (teachers) which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15). There are uncontrolled wildfires burning in our world today and it is scorching the earth. We must put these fires out!
A New Talk and New Walk is Needed
In order for these fires to be put out, a new walk and a new talk is needed. To quickly kill a fire we should remove its source. Without oxygen (the air we breathe), a fire cannot burn. We certainly know that a new talk and a new walk is needed for us to enter the heavenly kingdom. Yet, at the same time, while we live in this world, a new talk and a new walk is needed, or else we’ll destroy ourselves while we yet live. So, how do we go about changing our talk, which would lead to our walk changing?
Process of changing your tongue
Can we go about trying to change our talk by ourselves? I want you to understand that I am not talking about learning a new language. You see, we are known by our tongue, right? (Remember Peter? Our speech betrays us – Matt. 26:71-75.) When you open your mouth to speak, it gives away where you are from (we all have accents). At the same time, when you open your mouth to speak, it gives away your level of education, whether you’re a vulgar (offensive/disrespectful) person. When we open our mouth, our tongue (our speech) even gives away whether we are a righteous person of faith in Christ or not.
So, some of us try to change our speech by ourselves. I have been told by others several times since I became a preacher, about how they are going to clean up the way they talk. I have almost been preaching a decade now, and many of those that have said that to me still speak in the same manner. We cannot change the manner in which we speak without assistance. My speech did not change until I fully committed myself to living in the way of Christ.
Know this: The only way the tongue can be changed is if the spirit behind the tongue has been changed. If the spirit behind the tongue has not been changed, then that tongue (that speech) will not be changed! You see, all of our spirits are born in wickedness and sin. So, our speech, our tongue is of wickedness and sin. The only way that our tongue can be tamed and changed is if we allow God to enter into our soul! We must allow the Lord to enter in to wash and purify our hearts so that we can be born to new thoughts which will aid in changing our talk and our walk!
With a New Walk and Talk
James wrote (Jas. 1:26), “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” We of genuine faith in the Lord must learn how to control our tongue. There is a certain manner of speech which the children of the Lord should have. That speech should not be one that sparks fires and fan flames, but put out fires! The tongue of the righteous should not be like an untamable fire but a controlled fire that blesses those around them.
Solomon wrote in proverbs that the mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked (Prov. 10:11). He also wrote that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins (Prov. 10:12). Just look around and tell me what you see – I hope we all see the same thing. We are in need of a change of speech in our world today – a new talk and a new walk is required.
What is it that comes out of your mouth? Is it a speech of love or is it a speech of hatred? Truly ask yourself this question. Take a deep dive into the doctrine that you have been indoctrinated with, the thoughts in your head, and the words that come out of your mouth. With a regenerated (renewed) spirit, we gain a better vision for things. This new sight given to you by the Lord will lead to a new walk and a new talk. With that new talk and a new walk, we can start putting out fires that have been burning in our world for such a long time.