Fresh Hope – 26th January 2018

We have just returned from our son’s wedding in Adelaide. We’ve had a really wonderful time away, but it’s always good to come home!

Last weekend, we flew to Sydney for a few days. The harbour is a sight to behold, especially with the iconic Sydney Opera House sitting just there along the quayside.

Sydney’s harbour is also a famous stopping off place for many a giant cruise liner, and as we took the ferry across the water, one of the largest cruise ships in the world was docked right there. The amazing thing was that this ship weighing 168,000 tonnes and carrying almost 5,000 passengers was being pulled and guided into dock by what was best described as something the size of a fly in comparison to the size of vessel it was pulling. This tiny tugboat looked completely incapable of doing what it did, and yet no one could deny its pulling power in action.

Very small things, even though hard to comprehend, can and do have the potential to turn things around in everyday life.

One of the Bible’s greatest teachings on this is found in the book of James. It warns of the power and potential of one of the smallest parts of the body being able to steer the whole of a person’s life.

James 3:3-12 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig-tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

The best way of knowing how this amazing and yet potentially deadly organ is performing, is simply to listen to yourself in an unguarded moment. You’ll soon find out which direction your tongue is taking you.

Come to think about it, when was the last time you actually listened to the words leaving your lips? Reality is, we listen to everyone else, but never think to tune into what we say and how we say it.

If you find it hard to listen to your own language, then ask someone else that’s close to you to do it for you.

Ask questions like:

How do I come across in a conversation?

Do I seem upbeat or downbeat when I speak?

Do people perceive me to be negative, judgmental or critical?

Is there a reason why people don’t want to hear from me?

All those answers, whether negative or positive can be used to improve the way your tongue is steering your life.

Don’t settle for the lie that you can’t change the direction of your life; your tongue is your responsibility. The next time you open your mouth, put your brain in gear first and more than that decide only to build people up and not take them down. If you’ve got nothing good to say, then it’s best you say nothing until you’ve trained that piece of flesh in your mouth.

Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.