Don’t You Dare Hold Your Tongue
by Joseph Franks
It is so easy for us, who make our living by using our tongues, to be utterly negative in our weekly sermons. This is true for all preachers, but it is even more true for those of us who grew up in deep-south, Bible-belt, Fundamentalist circles. It is almost second nature for us to stand up front, get intense, lean forward, pound the pulpit, raise our voice, point fingers, and wax eloquently about the sin of the week. Consequently, in our sermons that focus on the tongue, it is very easy for us to focus solely on cursing, dishonesty, blasphemy, disrespect, profanity, slander, gossip, spitefulness, harshness, boasting, flattery, seduction, scoffing, quarreling, complaining, and false teaching.
However, today, instead of focusing on the danger of the tongue, I wish to communicate regarding its incredible usefulness. The tongue, under the control of the Holy Spirit, can be a phenomenal tool of righteousness, and I wish to inspire us to let it loose.
For example, we can use our tongues to encourage our employees, students, players, children, and spouses. Right now, this very moment, as we are reading this devotional blog, we can turn aside from our computer, pick up the phone, and encourage someone. If we are at work, we can walk down the hall and give a word of compliment. If we are out and about, we can send a text to someone in our contact list and encourage them. Yes, within the next five minutes, we have the ability to worship God and bring a smile to our brother’s or sister’s face. We can use our tongue to make someone’s day.
We also have the ability to mend our broken relationships. We can be the first in a dysfunctional relationship to say, “I’m sorry; will you forgive me?”, or we can relieve someone’s troubled soul by communicating grace with a hearty, “I forgive you!” Yes, within the next hour, we and a disconnected friend can have our hearts knitted tighter one to another.
Right now, wherever we are, we can use our tongues to sing or pray. The Heavenly Father deserves, demands, and delights in such worship. Additionally, we are spiritually improved when we offer forth such. So go ahead, let’s make a joyful noise before the Lord; let’s glorify and enjoy him as we were created to do.
Additionally, God has providentially determined to use the tongue to speak forth the Gospel and lead individuals from the darkness into the light. Let us share the hope we have within. Let us spread abroad the glorious news of the Gospel. And if we are not ready to be so bold today, let us invite someone to worship with us this Sunday. Just think, God may use our face-to-face conversation, our phone call, our email, our text, or our social media message to bring someone under the preached Word where the minister’s tongue might lead them to the cross.
Oh friends, we have glorious dynamite between our lips. The tongue can be a spark and set a soul on fire for God. The tongue can be like a bit in a horse’s mouth used to change the entire direction of our neighbor’s day or life. Like a rudder on a ship or a bullet from a gun, the tongue can do a world of good when it is set on fire by heaven.
My friends, why would you hold your tongue when such a wonderful opportunity is right before you?