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Posts Tagged ‘mastery’


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Even so, the tongue is a little member – and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles. – James 3:5

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown – but we an incorruptible one. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Just as the tiny rudder of a great big ship can be used to control its movements, steering its direction along certain courses (James 3:4) – so can our tongues steer the path of these days God has given each of us.  Depending on what we say – or don’t. The commentary which comes out of our mouths can steer conversations into contention, confusion, or contentment.  The direction of our day follows.

Death and life are in the power of our tongues – and those who love it will eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Words from our mouths can be hurtful and wounding – helpful and healing (Proverbs 12:18). Our tongues can touch off wildfires – the flames of which can be tough to tame (James 3:6).  Wars of words often ensue.  We’re warned not to do this as believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

What comes into us from the outside can’t defile us. But just like our bodies, our hearts and minds are vessels.  They can only hold so much in before something spills out.  What then flows forth from our lips can quickly defile us.  Wrong words from our tongues seal the deal of defiling our whole bodies (Matthew 15:11,18-20).  The damage is done once words are out (James 3:6).

It’s hard to hold our tongue back sometimes – but it’s much harder to take our words back once spoken. Even when we say we’re sorry – sorrow has been sown.  We could have reopened a wound in another person’s heart – scarred by a previous hurtful word spoken years ago by someone else.  It takes asking God to set a watch before our mouths at times – to keep the door of our lips closed (Psalm 141:3).

This is where temperance comes in as Christians. Just as a ship’s captain gently steers the course of any vessel with a rudder, so does a shepherd gently steer the course of any flock with a staff.  We have been born again of the Spirit as Christians (John 3:5).  We were once astray – but have now been returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  All control now belongs to Christ.

Jesus now dwells in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we start producing the spiritual fruit God requires – to show the results of our mutual abidance in each other (John 15:1-5).  One such desired fruit is temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Temperance is the practice of always controlling our actions and feelings – regardless of situation or circumstance.

It’s moderation and self-restraint in behavior and expressions.  So we don’t always act or speak on assumptions; jumping to conclusions (Joshua 22:1-34).  So we don’t always give people a piece of our mind with our mouth.  We’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  So ours are no longer conformed to the world – but transformed to be like Christ’s (Romans 12:2).  To give us peace of mind.

Still, we are flesh.  Even with the Holy Spirit in us – the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  They are contrary – one to the other (Galatians 5:17) – so we don’t always do or say the things we would (Romans 7:19-20).  In order to learn mastery – to be temperate in all things (second lead verse), we have to be taught so by the Master.  It’s essential to taming our tongues.

Everything we speak, starts as a thought.  These thoughts travel from our brains to our tongues.  For example, emotions often emerge from our mouths in word – when we’ve thought about things like love or hate long enough.  Once we start talking, people may want to stay with us – or walk away forever, depending on our words.  Once a person leaves because of them – it’s hard to get them back

As our minds are transformed daily by God’s truth, we should begin talking much more about the Word (Philippians 3:20) – and much less about the world. However, even speaking the truth requires some temperance.  Jesus didn’t always talk and teach. Christ also spent time praying and reflecting. When the Son of man did speak, it was always relevant to the situation.

The words which leave our lips about the Lord can go a long way to drawing the lost closer to the Cross – or driving them away (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 5:6).  Yes, whatever we say requires a tongue of temperance – whether it’s truth or not.  Remember, God always knows our words before we say them (Psalm 139:4) – and we will be judged for every idle word we ever spoke (Matthew 12:36).

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