Promise 3: Virtue

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

 

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make 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.

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.

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.

– James 3:3-12

In this short passage, James bluntly addresses the issue of our speech. Read over this passage again to catch the metaphors he uses to describe the tongue. Have you ever realized what a potentially wicked thing that little muscle in your mouth is? Make no mistake about it—the words you speak are powerful beyond imagination. They expand or limit your friendships. They can make or break your career opportunities. If you’re married, they’ll help determine the quality of your marriage. If you’re a father, they’ll shape your children.
A godly man recognizes the tongue’s power to build up or to tear down. But the tongue only shapes the words that originate in our hearts and minds. Hearts that are controlled by the Spirit’s power will produce speech that builds other sup instead of tearing them down. In other words, if we want to control our tongues, we must ask God to help us control our hearts.
The book of Proverbs is filled with verses that address a person’s speech. Turn to that book and take an hour or so to read through it. As you do, highlight in some way every verse that addresses this subject. Allow the Bible’s wisdom and the Spirit to direct your heart—and your tongue.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.