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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.