The Tongue: How to Discipline a Fire (Part 4)

In the previous posts, we’ve talked about the fact that controlling the tongue is a true test of one’s spirituality (part 1)! We mentioned the destructive uses of the tongue (part 2) and the need to replace the destructive tongue with a disciplined tongue (part 3).

But the question is, “How do I do that?” Consider the following principles (adapted from Disciplines of a Godly Man, by Kent Hughes).

Helpful Steps to Discipline Your Tongue

  1. Refrain from focusing only on the truth. Instead, faithfully speak the truth in love.
    Ephesians 4:15: But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.
  2. Refrain from being party to or a conduit for gossip – instead, seek to protect others and solve problems in a godly fashion.
    Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer (gossip), contention quiets down.
  3. Refrain from insincere flattery – instead, genuinely seek to believe the best about others and communicate that consistently to them and to others.
    Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
  4. Refrain from being critical of others and/or cutting them down – instead, build them up and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
    James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it.
  5. Refrain from degrading humor – instead, speak words that “edify” (build up); speak words that are pleasing to God.
    Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  6. Refrain from sarcasm – instead, be loving and kind and truthful; remember words can help or hurt!
    Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.
  7. Refrain from reactionary, explosive words – instead, think before you speak; in the heat of the battle, chose your words carefully and make sure they are filled with “grace.”
    Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  8. Refrain from the downward spiral or “coasting” in your Christian life – instead, seek to grow by identifying sinful habits of thinking and action that God wants to change and then replace them with obedience to the Word.
    2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
  9. Refrain from procrastinating in attempting to solve the problem – instead, seek to solve today’s problems today.
    Ephesians 4:26 . . . do not let the sun go down on your anger,
  10. Refrain from focusing on the other person’s problems – instead, first seek to handle your part of the problem and return good for evil even if the other person won’t handle their part.
    Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.