Tongue in Cheek: No Pun Intended
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James 3:3-8 "Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even 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."
The tongue: 1. A fleshy movable process of the floor of the mouths of most vertebrates that bears sensory end organs and small glands and functions especially in taking and swallowing food and in humans as a speech organ. 5: a tapering flame.
Have you ever stuck your tongue out in the mirror? I am sure as an adult it is not something you do often, except maybe when brushing. As a child did you stand there staring at it in the mirror? Okay, maybe I was the only strange child, but that small muscle truly fascinated me. It had so much power to be so small. We need it to form words, taste and to make funny faces at people. By itself, it is not all that exciting to look at-- red, bumpy, pointy at the end. I just measured mine and from where I put the ruler in (back of my mouth) to the tip, was just over 2 inches. Granted this not a normal thing for me to do (measure my tongue), but I wanted to have an accurate measurement of it. It is approximately 18 inches shorter than my arm. Amazingly, it seems to wound one’s soul more than I could ever physically do with my arm.
While reading this scripture, I applied it to my personal life but in a different way. You see-- I am an overweight woman. I use food as a weapon, as a comforter, as a friend. Something that I can turn to in times of joy, sorrow, pain, depression and elation. For myself, life revolves around food. Getting together is so much more fun if you are sharing in mass quantities of food. I enjoy eating, the tastes and textures, as much I abuse food for emotional reasons.
In verse 5, it says that the "tongue boasts great things." Yes it does. It can praise or tear down by simply speaking. But did you know it boasts other things? It is able to boast sweet, sour, tart, spicy and, according to a new government study, even fat. When I place a bit of food on my mouth, I receive all those sensations. My tongue shouts in glee when it is sweet or fatty. It protests loudly when it is tart or sour. It begs for mercy when I partake of spicy.
We are to bridle our tongue in speech but what about in eating? Shouldn’t we be able to bridle that also? For some people (such as myself), eating one bite of a certain piece of food is like removing the bridle and letting me graze in the pasture. I run wild, racing around devouring all I come in contact with. But when I am bridled, I am able to eat a healthy amount. When bridled, I choose what my Master has given me (you know all the healthy stuff!) When unbridled, I am like a horse in a green sea of sweet clover waiting to founder.
If I am able to bridle my tongue, I will be able to control my whole body as well. I can control my cholesterol level, my chances for heart attack and diabetes, the amount of weight I gain or loose, and lower my risks for other diseases, such as cancer. Now, unbridled, I show the signs of roaming free on the range; overweight, waiting for diseases to strike, tired, and ignoring the fact gluttony is a sin. How much better my life would be if I bridled my tongue not only in talk, but also in taste.
My body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell. How can I do all the Holy Spirit desires of me if it is dwelling in a temple of ruin? It is time for me to bridle my tongue in both speech and consumption of food in order to become a perfect vessel. It is time for me to eat of the Bread of Life and not the bread of Mrs. Baird’s. It is time for me to drink from the Living Water and not from the 3-liter bottle of Vanilla Coke. It is time for me to live as an Heir to the Kingdom and not as an heir to modern day "give-it-to-me-now" society.
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Beautiful Sister, just beautiful...our words can bring forth so much life, as yours just did. - Jay Cookingham
Wow, powerful, brave confession and exhortation. I totally comprehend. I'm a definite believer in bridling the tongue and yet so many times we eat because we are seething in anger and not speaking or sharing our grief or fears. Am a great believer in the power of the living water --real and spiritual-- to quell our eating temptations. So often we overweight folks are really thirsty instead of hungry and our bodies can't tell the difference. Great article.