Watch your mouth: It’s not just a word from your mom.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who take refuge in him” Psalms 34:8. TASTE – and see that the Lord is good. The words of this scripture are purposeful. As a kid, I often heard my mom say, “Watch your mouth!”. She would hear me speak some sort of nastiness, and there were those words, sometimes coupled with the bitter taste of soap, letting me know, if I wasn’t going to stop ugly things from coming out, she was going to wash them out for me.
Just the thought of that disgusting taste sends my tongue across my teeth in an effort to rid mouth of any remaining soap residue, YUCK. I’m older now, with a family of my own. I’ve outgrown my mom washing my mouth out, but I’ll never outgrow the need to hear those words and be reminded to, “watch your mouth.”
The tongue is a small muscle with immense ability. A quick study reveals the average size of a woman’s is 3.1 inches, a man’s is slightly larger. We are reliant on it for speech, chewing, and swallowing. Food is important. We need it for survival. Our tongue is the means by which it is ushered in to our system to be broken down and distributed throughout our body for fuel. On it, we find an average of 10,000 taste buds. Taste buds, as we know, detect flavors – salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
We choose what we put into our mouths.
Sometimes we make wise choices, we go for the fresh bowl of fruit, and reap their benefits. Others, we make less wise choices – and reach for that chocolate donut, the one with the angel fluff hidden inside (My mouth is watering just thinking of it). We joyfully partake in a mouthful (or fistful) of this tastefully satisfying, yet TOTALLY empty of nutrition delight. Empty of nutrition, indeed, but powerless it is not, with its ability to create cravings and sugar addictions that leave us wanting more. Eat too much, and we find ourselves fueling our body with food that deceptively keeps our body alive but causes unseen havoc to our physical well-being.
Taste and see…
When I was a kid, I despised tomatoes. The texture was offensive. One glimpse would send my appetite out the door. Learning about positive nutrition’s purpose in fueling our body, and its disease fighting ability, however, has caused me to re-think my stance. As a result, I began to weigh in my mind the purposeful vitamins they are packed full of, against my disgust for their taste. Consequently, their benefit to me far outweighed my distaste for them and I have LEARNED to enjoy them.
Our tongue has the ability to acquire tastes. The more we eat of something, the more we accept it. Acquiring a taste is a wonderful thing in helping us overcome food aversion. But just as it can serve as a catalyst to healthy lifestyle, it also proves problematic even detrimental when we realize that just as it can acquire a taste for healthy things it can also acquire a taste for non-healthy things. Similarly, just as you can taste and see the things of the Lord, you can also taste and see things that are NOT of the Lord.
Consider with me:
Spew a word of hate in a moment of rage, and sense your tongues ability to satisfy your flesh with those words.
Speak a sharp word out of retaliation, and detect the pleasure of pride prancing through your mouth.
Utter a careless word in the midst of your pain, and feel a satiny delight settle on your taste buds.
Express a word of bitterness, and be aware of your tongues temptation to go in for another bite.
Verbalize your dislike for someone, and discern the discord your tongue is lured into.
Declare gossip-ful words, and notice your craving for more.
The more you speak these things, the more your tongue craves them just as it does a sugary midday pick-me up. These things however, are much like that donut wreaking havoc on our inward man.
It’s not just your momma, what does God’s word say about watching your mouth?
Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
Proverbs 25:23, “As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
Proverbs 26:28. “A lying tongue hates its victims and flattering words cause ruin.”
James 3:8 warns us, “but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.”
James 1:26, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
Luke 6:45 “… for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” These words are a necessary (and at times painful) check point in gauging our walk with the Lord. When we read these words, it’s important we take inventory.
Are the words I speak spreading life or death?
Do the words I choose, stir anger? The Word tells us, the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. How sobering of a thought to consider our tongue may be the tool used to turn someone (even ourselves) toward unrighteousness.
Am I speaking truth? Lies are hate, no matter how big, how small, whether a half-truth, or a morsel of truth. If there’s any inkling of lie, we’re spreading hate – that’s not God.
Do I have control over my tongue? And if not, my religion is worthless. I need repentance, and the power of the Holy Ghost to overcome.
God says the condition of our heart should be love, what do the words we speak say about the condition of our heart, and what sort of speech have we acquired a taste for?
Overcoming the aversion to watch your mouth
Once you’ve acquired a taste for something, it’s difficult to change, but certainly not impossible. The key is the same as overcoming food aversion. Understanding the impact of healthy eating gives us the reason we need to change our eating habits. Similarly, knowing the impact of our words, and the power hidden inside gives us the reason to change them.
1 Peter 3:10 “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”
Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[a] so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” This world is full of negativity, and division. How rare is it to find someone who will breath life and encouragement into another? Be that one.
Will you join me?
Proverbs 15:28, “The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.” I want to be Godly, I know you do too, and we need God’s help to make it happen.
Transforming the words, we speak is not an easy task. We must break some habits, and change our view through intention, focus, and effort. It’s overwhelming to think about, but thank the Lord he doesn’t leave us on our own. He gives us a promise, and says just taste, and we’ll see that He IS GOOD. He says, “just take a bite,” He’ll prove it, and he doesn’t stop there, he says, “let me help you,” and provides his powerful Spirit as a source of strength.
I wonder today if you’ve come to the point where you’re ready to realize the power of the words we speak, as we are reminded of our need to watch our mouth and Choose Him.
Psalm 141:3 Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and guard my lips.
Looking for more encouragement and taking control of your tongue, maybe what you’re up against is A Root Problem