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Watch Your Tongue - James 1:26

Susan loves the Lord. She seeks to walk close to him by studying the word of God. His word holds all the answers to life's questions.

Control Your Tongue



Your Tongue

In today's study, Watch Your Tongue, we will inspect just one verse.

Please join me as we continue our journey in James.

To start at the beginning of this study: Life Lessons from the Book of James.

JAMES 1:26

Are You Religious?

The Power of the Tongue

  • Analogies for the tongue
  • Evil Power of the Tongue
  • The hypocrisy of the Tongue

Who Can Tame the Tongue?

Are You Religious

In today's study, we will take just one verse and meditate on its many applications.

James 1:26 "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

Do you consider yourself religious?

Perhaps you go to Church every week - check; You tithe - check; You read your Bible when you have time (well, you know it's more than most people do) - check; You send up prayers when you remember to - check; Why, you may even go to Bible Study - double-check. So, that must make you a really dedicated Christian right? - UNCHECK!

All of the activities listed above can be a smokescreen - fooling even yourself. It may be just an outward effort to be religious.

It is your tongue that reveals what is inside. If the tongue is not controlled it's a 'tell,' there is no heart change. When Jesus adopts us into His family our whole life changes. "Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" II Cor. 5:17

James is saying that a person who is intimate with Jesus will keep a tight rein on his/her tongue. If you are a gossip, angry word blaster or a blabbermouth you are deceived and all your outward efforts to 'do' the right thing' are totally worthless!

This is not saying you will be perfect, as a young Christian, at controlling your tongue, but the Holy Spirit faithful convicts the child of God when the tongue slips out of place. Growth comes with practicing self-control.

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The Power of the Tongue

In this study, I'll share other Bible verses about the tongue to give us a deeper understanding of its power.

I went to and typed in the word tongue to learn more about what God says about our tongue.

The truths about the tongue listed in the first four verses are illustrated through analogies. Though the tongue is small - it is also mighty. The analogies used are as follows:

  • a small bit in the horse's mouth,
  • a small rudder that controls the ship
  • a small spark to start a forest fire.

All three have the ability to control and take over its object. So is the power of the tongue - it is tiny, but it has the ability to control the whole body.

Analogies for the Tongue

James 3:3-6 laid out in bullet points

  • When we put bits into the mouths of horses, making them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
  • Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
  • Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
  • Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
  • The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Evil Power of the Tongue

These verses make it clear that no human can control his own tongue.

James 3:7-8 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

The Hypocrisy of the Tongue

Many are steeped in religion and blinded by it. They go to church and praise God and then turn around and curse people. The argument is made that the two cannot abide in the same heart.

James 9-12 "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water?"

Who Can Tame the Tongue

The fiercest animal mentioned in the Bible is the tongue - all others can be tamed. "It is kept behind two red doors and more than twenty white bars and its name is spelled as follows: T-O-N-G-U-E. Yes, that is it, the tongue. James says, "The tongue can no man tame." Quote by Howard J. Chidley

Not only is it the fiercest but it is the crudest. Consider its power to kill and destroy. By utilizing its power we can cause such harm to another. Words cannot be taken back. Words can target a heart and abide in it forever.

Who Can Tame the Tongue?

A child of God knows the only one who can help them conquer the devastating and far-reaching consequences of an untamed tongue is God Himself. If you struggle with your tongue - Go to God. Claim Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

Psalm 141:3 "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."

Oh Be Careful

Watch Your Tongue

The following is a reflection I wrote in an effort to teach a powerful truth about the far-reaching effects of the tongue.

The tongue has amazing functions. It has lots of little taste buds covering the top of it. The tongue has everything to do with enjoying food or detecting spoiled or nasty flavors to be avoided like the plague.

The most important consideration of the tongue is the power that it holds. That little, saturated weapon lying so innocently in your mouth is an object of so much influence.

Did you know that your tongue can be used as a deadly weapon? Venomous words may be formed by that flexible, wet, wily little tool in your mouth. You can shoot a dagger through a heart by letting your tongue form words such as idiot, loser, dummy, stupid, crazy and even worse by employing degrading obscenities.

Sarcasm is one of the wiles of the tongue, it's the great pretender - pretending to be funny, but oh so carefully hooking a mysterious barb into its victim. Once the tongue has sent its vile message, it wounds and violates its target. Our tongue has the power to formulate words that destroy and rip at the heart of the hearer.

But wait! Consider the exact opposite use of this dangerously out of control little menace. Our tongue can be tamed. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the power to hold it still when it wants to spew out unwholesome speech. We must cooperate with God to tame it. Choose to use it to bless not curse.

The capacity of this gizmo may be used for good; Why it may even change a life. That little apparatus behind your teeth can work wonderful magic as it creates words of blessings and verbs that lift those cast down; it is able to bestow happiness, percolate giggles, encourage the weary, bring a smile to the sad, restore a broken relationship, forgive an offender and so much more.

Take responsibility for your tongue. A brief moment's meditation will uncover the far-reaching capabilities of your tongue to produce a myriad of messages, be they blatant, or be they subtle. Words have power, power for good or power for evil. The choice is yours!

by Susan Ream

Real Religion - James 1:27

The next topic called Real Religion is the last in the study of James chapter one. If you have been with me from the very beginning, I thank you for persevering. In this study, there are so many truths, nuggets of wisdom, applications and causes for repentance. I pray God has touched you, as He has me, through His living Word.

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight and guard against corruption from this godless world.

The Tongue Poll


Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on January 17, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 07, 2020:

Nice hub. Well explained.

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on July 29, 2014:

Hi Treasures! Yes the tongue can be used as a weapon of destruction or instruction. It is God's treasures uncovered that causes us to pause and evaluate our lives and mouths.

This was the next to last verse in a study of James chapter one. This study, every verse and chapter, holds truths that when applied draw us to the very heart of God.

I know I am the one most blessed by the preparation time and the up close and personal study of God's word.

Thanks for your visit, comment and kind words!

Blessings to you!


Sima Ballinger from Michigan on July 29, 2014:

Very fascinating article. The tongue can be used as a weapon of "destruction" or "instruction." You made me think more about what I say and comes out of my mouth - this article is a good reminder!

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on July 11, 2014:

Sky, I think we all struggle with knowing where the line is and how to get away when we know it's being crossed. Walking away is the best and most people pick up on your body language.

When you deal with someone who gossips but doesn't pick up the signals .. we usually have to speak up with a comment i.e. ... "since Sherry isn't here I don't feel right talking about this." It's tough and awkward, as you say, but it's not always easy doing the right thing.

Thanks for visiting, I'm always happy to find your insightful comments on my hubs.

God Bless!


Sky321 from Canada on July 11, 2014:

I like this and I am constantly reminding myself about these things. I also wrote something about this topic. Great hub and reminder. -up and useful.

I sometimes struggle with the gossip in the work place, and noticed that I added some to it. It is so bad and a bad testimony. Later I tried practicing to change the subject or try to walk away kind of thing after I was under much conviction. This would be a good hub idea for someone- what to do when people around you are gossiping. It is awkward and uncomfortable.

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on June 23, 2014:

Krmission - thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!



Kristy from Indiana on June 22, 2014:

Great read, thanks!

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on June 06, 2014:

teaches, yes the tongue can do a lot of damage and I like that you pointed out 'sometimes it cannot be amended.' We cannot take back what has left our lips and landed on another. Thank you for leaving your thoughts.

God bless you too my friend!!


Dianna Mendez on June 06, 2014:

I learned a long time ago that your tongue can do a lot of damage and sometimes it cannot be amended. It is, as you say, murder in some cases. Great write on this truth! God bless you!

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on June 03, 2014:

Hi Ann, I love the book of James too - it is filled with practical information for living the Christian life. You've made a good point about children. They do respond in kind to our words, tone and attitudes.

Thanks for the vote up and visit.



Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on June 02, 2014:

I love the book of James! It is so important for us Christians to think before we open our mouths! Especially with children. They respond so much to kind words. But everyone does - even a smile can lighten someone's day.

Well done and voted up.

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on May 25, 2014:

Hi Sweet Faith, Yes that lil' wily tongue has far reaching power for good or bad.

Thanks for your encouragement, ups and more. We are having a wonderful weekend with family and friends.

I hope you are too dear girl!

Blessings to you!


Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on May 24, 2014:

The word has a lot to say about the words that come out of our mouths. As God's word penetrates the darkness He changes us and convicts us if our mouth is not speaking words of edification.

Appreciate your input and conviction Ann - thanks!

God Bless You!


Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 24, 2014:

Dear Mekenzie,

So true, the tongue is such a tiny part of our body, but it sure can do the most harm or to edify and build up another one. We should be mindful of every word coming out of our mouths, for "Out of the heart, the mouth speaks." It is so telling of the condition of our heart when the words we speak do nothing to build up but tear down another one.

Excellent write of His truths.

Up and more and away

Hope you are enjoying a lovely long weekend. Blessings always

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on May 23, 2014:

Thank you Blossom. I hear you - 'if only we could take back words spoken thoughtlessly and in haste.' Words have such power. Thank you for dropping by and leaving your thoughts!



Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on May 23, 2014:

Raising awareness of this issue, especially using God's Word is a very worthwhile endeavor, especially in today's world. I might only add that if bad language is being using on TV or in a movie, a true child of God turns it off or gets up and walks out. If you don't speak it, you don't need to listen to it either.

Well done and voted up.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on May 23, 2014:

Yes! St. Paul told us that the tongue is the most unruly member of our body, and it's so true. If only we could take back words spoken thoughtlessly and in haste. Well written!

Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on May 23, 2014:

Yvette, God is faithful to alert His children to truth. As we commit to study God's word He speaks clearly as you identified with your experience in Luke - "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." It is a heart issue and God is the master of changing hearts.

The book of Proverbs is a constant source of wisdom. opening our eyes to practical truth. I recommend reading one chapter of Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters so reading one a day will get you through the book each month.

Thanks for sharing God's work in your own life - He is faithful!

God Bless!


Yvette Stupart from Jamaica on May 23, 2014:

Hi Mekenzie, I have become more aware in the last couple of weeks about what I speak about others, and the fact that what I speak is an overflow of my heart.

According to Luke 6:45: "Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." It all begins in our hearts, and no wonder the book of Proverbs cautions us to guard our hearts.

Thanks for the timely reminder to watch my tongue.



Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on May 22, 2014:

Hi Jackie, That verse holds a very solemn warning - every idle word. An opportunity to reflect and scrutinize what comes out of our mouth. Thank you for adding it for inner reflection.

May God control our words, thoughts and actions so we may be a light for Him in a very dark world.



Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 22, 2014:

You are sure right and it needed to be said so thank you for this. To add to it is a scripture I have had on my mind a lot lately! Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

Can you even imagine? So many idle words in our life!

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