Friday, July 17th

Friday, July 17th

The one who is careful about what he says will have good come to him, but the one who wants to hurt others will have trouble. He who watches over his mouth keeps his life. He who opens his lips wide will be destroyed. The soul of the lazy person has strong desires but gets nothing, but the soul of the one who does his best gets more than he needs. Proverbs 13:2-4 (NLV)

But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” James 2:18 (GNT)

It is significant that today's passage on the tongue from Proverbs concludes with a contrast between the person who is lazy and the person who diligently does their best. We need to consider what part laziness plays in our failure to control the tongue and what part diligence plays in our success at controlling it. Today's passage from Proverbs is not focusing on the good ways the tongue can be used but rather on the bad ways it can be used. What we are really talking about here is having the personal discipline we need for being obedient about not hurting others with our tongues.

Faith and having the discipline to act are not at odds with each other as we see from today's James passage. Faith means trusting God to empower us to do what he says we need to do. Faith does not mean waiting for the Spirit to move and not being obedient in the interim. Faith means that we do what God says we need to do while believing he will empower us to do it. Action without faith is just self effort and faith without action in not true faith. Either way success at controlling the tongue will not me achieved. The one who engages in action without is faith is being lazy about seeking God and trusting in his indwelling presence and power. The one who fails to act in obedience as they wait for the Spirit to move is being lazy about obeying what God has told them to do.

In summary, diligently doing our best in regard to the use of our tongue means that we will be careful what we say. It means will not allow ourselves to want to hurt someone through what we say. It means we will be diligent about keeping watch over our mouths and not opening wide our lips to say whatever we want to say. Success at controlling the tongue is all about obediently doing our best to refrain and hold back from using words that hurt others. It is an obedience that acts on what God commands while fully trusting and depending his presence and power.

Lord, forgive me for my lack of diligence to obey you in regard to the use of my tongue. Likewise, forgive me for not trusting your presence and power in my life in order to have victory over my tongue. I step out in faith and obedience today with confidence that I can go forward with the discipline I need to manage my tongue properly as trust you and depend on you. Amen!

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