by Pastor Tim Burt
On February 24, 2010, a trainer was killed by an Orca Killer Whale in front of a live audience at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. There are numerous stories of trainers who have been killed or mauled by the animals they were trying to train. Some creatures simply cannot be completely trained or controlled. Your tongue is one of them. James 3:8-10 (NKJV) “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
One thing we all learn quickly in life is that if we don’t learn to control our tongue, we’ll crash, cause pain, and experience pain! But didn’t we just read that “…no man can control the tongue…?” That is true! Not in your own effort you can’t. It can be tamed, but just not by us! The tongue can only be tamed by leaning upon and yielding to the help of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 39:1 NIV says, “I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
When David spoke of muzzling his mouth, he was talking about the difficulty of not retorting back and saying things that will draw you where you don’t want to go. This is especially true when you are talking to what may be an unreasonable person. And especially if that person knows how to push your buttons! We’ve all been in that position. You think, I am just going to keep my mouth shut. There is no reasoning with this person. Then suddenly, everything you didn’t want to say spews our your mouth. And just like that, the damage has been done and there is no undoing it!
Biting your tongue is a good plan when trying to communicate something difficult with a person that won’t listen, doesn’t think logical, or won’t hear a perspective beyond their own. (You better make sure that you aren’t the unreasonable and stubborn person!) And remember, just because you’ve determined to keep your mouth shut, doesn’t mean that it’s easy or possible. We all have those failures in our past! And we may as well agree with God’s word that no man can tame the tongue. The sooner that we do, the sooner we can pray and enlist the help of the Holy Spirit to gain a control that He helps empower you with!
We can learn from David’s experience in a time like this. He was in a negative situation with someone he perceived as wicked. Psalm 39:1 NIV says, “I said, I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
David wanted to muzzle his mouth but didn’t quite succeed. Psalms 39:2-3 continues saying, “But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue…”
Did you see what happened? David lost control at the end and got drawn into speaking words he didn’t want to say. He started out with the good intention of managing his tongue, like we all do, but soon caved because he let his emotions get in the way. God teaches us to lean on and yield to the instruction of the Holy Spirit instead of caving into emotionally charged spewing words. If we do, then God can continue to help us gain strength and perspective.
At times like this we need to not lose sight of “The Big Picture.” It’s critical to step back and look at a perspective that’s bigger than your own, for the good of all. That happened to David here and if you look closely, you can almost hear the Holy Spirit directing David. I believe God was trying to get through to David saying, David, don’t get drawn into this with your mouth. Put this into perspective by looking at the big picture! This is a little deal in the light of all there is and all that I have for you. Don’t sin with your mouth and forfeit the big picture. Why do I think this is what God was ministering to David? Because of the thoughts and prayer that David then lifted to God in the midst of this verbal conflict. David lifted his heart and prayed, “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.”(Psalm 39:4-5)
Don’t you think that’s a funny thought to be thinking in the midst of conversational turmoil with someone? That is what’s going on here. David is flaming mad at someone and God shows him the big picture to escape the temptation of saying something he’d regret. I can imagine that inward voice of the Spirit of God saying something like, Relax David. I love you. Life is quick. I want you to walk with me and love life. There are so many things that are so much more important than this! Chill out and seek my strength through pray. I’ll work on this situation for you. Just walk in love. Hear their perspective and then let go of it for now. They think they have won because you are keeping quiet. Winning isn’t the key thing. Following after love and peace as you pursue my best and my plan is! Trust me I’ll lead you and I will be working through this situation as you pray. But, don’t lose your peace!
With David, God used the big picture to help reduce the scope of an inflated battle. He used the big picture to remind him how quick life is and not to forfeit it. It’s good counsel for us all. In tough situations, if we stay in faith and keep our love walk and care for the person we seem to be battling with, then we can know the Lord is working in our behalf. Love does cover a multitude of sins. Love will bring you out of this kind of situation as a winner!
Proverbs 26:20 “Without wood, the fire goes out…”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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