“We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” James 3:3-5
James presented two items that are small, but has great power. A small bit enables the rider to control the great horse and a rudder enables the pilot to steer the ship. The tongue is a small thing but it has great power. Both the bit and the rudder must overcome a great force. The bit is fighting the wild side of the horse. The rudder is fighting the wind and the sea to guide the ship. The tongue also has to fight a great power. We have the old sin nature that is wanting to control the tongue. We also have Satan wanting to control us. There are many circumstances around us that would make us say things we ought not to say. We have sin on the inside and pressure on the outside seeking to control our tongue. The bit and the rudder must be under the control of a strong hand. When Jesus Christ controls the tongue, then we need not fear saying the wrong thing. “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21) “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.” (Psalm 141:3-4) Solomon warned of our tongue and David knew that the heart is the key to right speech. When Jesus Christ is the Lord of our heart, then He is Lord of our lips.
“You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” (Matthew 12:34)