“Yesterday was a busy day,” Stan began. “Lots of errands, meetings, phone calls, and eating on the run. I was finally able to stop late in the day and have a cup of coffee with my wife.”
“Nice to have time to sit and relax,” I commented.
“Always with her,” Stan replied. “However, when I sat down with her at Arbuckle’s Coffee Shop and gave her a kiss on the cheek, she said something like ‘I bet I know where you had lunch, and probably what you had’.”
“Was she right?” I asked.
“She was,” Stan replied. “Mario’s Pizza. And the Garlic Supreme. Then she said the obvious that I could use some mouth wash!”
“However,” he continued, “I didn’t have any, but I did have some breath mints. I popped a couple of them in my mouth.”
“Did that help?” I asked with a smile.
“My wife said it did,” Stan replied. “From there, she and I had a great conversation about spiritual mouth wash.”
“Spiritual mouth wash?” I said. “What’s that?”
“James wrote about that in his letter when he wrote about the need to watch what comes out of my mouth. Of course, he wasn’t writing about Mario’s garlic, but he was writing about something much more significant.”
“What?” I asked.
“Keeping my tongue under control so that what I say matches with who I am in my relationship with God through the finished work of Christ that resulted from His life, death, and resurrection.”
Continuing, Stan said, “James put it in terms of ‘bridling’ my mouth, using the analogy of a bit in a horse’s mouth that can control the whole horse. I am to keep my tongue under control so that the whole me is under control. In order to have that kind of control, I have to give it all to the Holy Spirit whose fruit includes self-control. Controlling self, that’s what it is all about.”
“But,” I asked, “doesn’t that require that you first take every thought captive?”
“Absolutely!” Stan replied. “If I don’t first take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and give each thought to the Holy Spirit, my tongue can and will cause me to be run like an unbridled horse.”
“Just like garlic breath is the natural result of eating tasty garlic-filled pizza, an uncontrolled life will be the result of an uncontrolled tongue. The damage from one can be remedied with some mouth wash, the other may cause damage that can’t be or is not easily repaired. It’s better for the damage from an unbridled mouth to be avoided. Much better than having to deal with the damage.”
“Keep the beast under control!”
Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire bodies as well. James 3:3.
We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you make it clear what you do and do not want to come out of my mouth. I confess that way too often what I say does not reflect who you intend for me to be in Christ. And I confess that too often what I say leads to actions that are also contrary to what you intend for those who claim to be yours. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead so that I keep control of what I say, as well as what I do, by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.