“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:26
The book of James makes it clear that the use of our tongue is a very important barometer of where we are spiritually. Our tongues can easily get away from us. We all have surely experienced what it is to say something and then think, “Why did I say that? It was so wrong!”
While we are not literally called to go get a horse’s bridle and physically fit it into our mouths, God employs the bridle image to call us to active restraint. As redeemed people we ought to say in our minds, “Tongue, mouth, you belong to Jesus Christ. You can’t go unchecked and unrestrained in what you say.” The bridle illustration tells us we have to mean serious business about guarding and controlling our speech.
All the effort without a right heart, however, will prove futile. Jesus made it clear that the heart is the major key to the tongue. Impatient, arrogant, sarcastic or harsh tones indicate some repenting and cleansing needs to be done in the heart. The same with gossip, filthy talk, cursing, or boasting. Let us seek from God daily renewing of the heart, that our tongues will be bridled away from evil and towards a fruitful and edifying use.