The Bible speaks extensively about using our words and tongue. Solomon, the inspired writer of Proverbs, advises over and over again throughout Proverbs about speech. One of those many passages is the text for the Proverbs 21 printable poster I’m sharing today: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” It seems so simple, but guarding the mouth is often a great struggle.
Consider the admonition given by James in the New Testament regarding the tongue in James 3:5-12:
5Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
If we are able to put Proverbs 21:23 into practice, we will certainly keep our soul from trouble. How many times have we wanted to immediately take back something we’ve said because it hurts someone? How many times have our words brought dishonor to God when we should be giving Him the glory? How often have we rashly promised something that we can’t or don’t want to do? Bringing Proverbs 21:23 before our eyes can be a daily encouragement to be careful with our tongue.
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