SOAP Devotional 2014-03-04

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SOAP Devotional 2014-03-04
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer


Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. (James 3:2-12 NLT)


Controlling what we say is a big thing. It is like a bit in the mouse of a horse or a rudder for a ship, what we say tends to guide our whole lives. What we say grows like a wildfire and consumes us. What is bad is when believers begin to spout off the wrong things. They can worship god in front of others, but talk like the devil with the world. This is not right. For professing believers to talk bad it is like salt water coming from a fresh water spring. Just like a fig tree does not produce olives and a grapevine does not produce figs, a true believer does not speak evil things. Just like fresh water does not come from a salty spring, an unbeliever will not produce continual right speech. Salt water may just look like water, but the taste test will reveal it’s true nature quickly.


Christians must control what they say. As born again believers we are re-created to be able to do the impossible. The fig tree producing olives, etc. analogies are to show that although the tongue cannot be controlled in the natural, we can do the supernatural and control our tongue. This passage is partially misquoted so often as an excuse for us not controlling what we say. We are not to be guilty of blessing and cursing coming from our mouths. We don’t curse, we don’t gossip, we don’t back-bite, we don’t get down on others, we don’t hold on to and talk about past hurts or defeats, and the list goes on. These things, like un-forgiveness, hurt us more than it hurts them because just like a bit in a horses mouth, it directs our lives by the way we talk. Instead of proceeding with love and mercy, we are consumed with bitterness and vengeance. One of the most powerful sentences in the scripture above is, “Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” And we can and should do something about it in our own lives.


Father, help me to control the things that I say. Let my words be life to both myself and to others. Help me to keep from letting emotions guide my speech, but rather let them be seasoned by your spirit to be like fresh water rather than a bitter spring.

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