Mary and I were driving through the Hwy. 115 canyon
between Penrose and Colorado Springs, going the speed limit, 60 mph.
Suddenly the car in front of us slowed to 45 mph
because it was blocked by a box truck crawling along.
Impatiently, without being able to see what was coming,
the car started passing the truck.
My heart raced because I could see three cars looming fast on him.
It looked like they would hit head-on!
And the highway dubbed “ribbon of death” would wrap up more victims!
But thankfully, the three cars hugged the right shoulder and the foolhardy car slipped in, leaving it our turn to deal with the turtle truck.
Mary cautioned me, really pleading at the same time:
“Let’s be patient—there’s a passing lane just up a few miles.”
The back of the truck said “Hey Culligan Man!”
It seemed like we were staring at that old familiar commercial jingle forever!
Maybe that’s why the other car bolted—
couldn’t take it any more!
At last as we neared the passing lane,
I pulled up on the truck’s left rear, ready to zoom by
as soon as he started to move over to the right lane.
But he just kept going straight—down the left—chugging 45!
My mind was whirring—what was the perfect thing to say
to this annoying driver!!
Hold that thought …
James 3 is the Tongue Chapter and verse 2 tells you how you can tell if you’re perfect: “If anyone can control his tongue” (Living Bible).
If you are perfect, you will be speaking like God the Father & Jesus Christ speak. Everything you say will be aligned with the Bible.
If somebody starts talking about how we need to stop gossiping, slandering or criticizing, my spiritual mind would agree but my carnal mind would argue back: You know as hard as we try not to, we’re going to keep right on gossiping!
In verses 5 and 6 James says our tongues are going to start raging fires just as surely as Colorado will burn this summer.
James flat out says in verse 8: “No man can tame the tongue.”
Is it hopeless? Good news is that a forecast was just released saying that fires in Colorado are expected to be average or below average for the third straight year. And James says God can help us control our tongues!
In verse 13 James asks: “Who is wise and understanding among you? He says we need “meekness of wisdom.”
Verse 17 gives God’s solution for controlling our tongues: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield [to a Culligan Man truck!], full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” It’s obvious all of these characteristics, guided by God’s Holy Spirit, would help us control our tongues.
What an interesting surprise:
James doesn’t say “first love.” He says purity is the first descriptor.
Note Psalm 12:6: “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified 7 times.” This is a definite impression of carefully choosing every word in every situation—with loving consideration to the impact on all concerned.
To comply with this, the translators of the King James Bible had six panels of 54 translators work separately—two panels on the Old Testament, three on the New Testament and one on the Apocrypha. Each panel’s work would be sent to the other panels and then chief members of all six panels would consider final revisions.
I could give you lots of time-tested advice for controlling the tongue perfectly:
You could “think before you speak.” But by the time I’d get to N—is it necessary, it wouldn’t be because the person would have given up waiting for me to say something!
Because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34), conversion and God’s spirit in you is the best solution for speaking good words.
I want to leave you with
A concept that has helped me more than anything else:
The first resurrection may not be that far off, when in the twinkling of an eye we become members of the God family—you and me suddenly expected to have every word we say be god-like. We should be preparing to speak like that now. After all, 1 John 3:2 says “now we are children of God.”
So it’s really helping me to ask myself, “If I were God now, would I say that?” It has never worked for me to ask, “What would Jesus say?” because He said many things in the Bible that would never come up in my conversational circle. I don’t have occasion to call anybody “Whitened sepulchers!” Or inform anybody that “Before Abraham was, I Am.”
But it does work for me to evaluate whether what I’m about to say would be godly and up to the standards of the Word of God.
Jesus as the Word said “Let it be” and the whole universe came into existence out of nothing! Imagine if you had that kind of power at the tip of your tongue today as you seek to have the mind of Christ. Where anything you say goes! You’d want to watch what you utter!
Back to the annoying truck
“Hey Culligan Man … get out of my way!” So the truck would go flying across the landscape!
One of my favorites: “Anyone who drives like that ought to be shot!” So the driver would be lined up by a firing squad and summarily dispatched!
“Hey Culligan Man, you must have been told a million times to not drive like that. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.” [And this blog would go on and on for 999,995 more!] Mary has been after me for a long time to stop exaggerating and I would argue back that it’s just colorful English. But God says what He means and means what He says.
NO! “Maybe the truck can’t go any faster … maybe he’s British …” What needs softening far more than water is our words.
To paraphrase Thumper from Bambi, “If you can’t think of somethin’ godly to say, then don’t say nuffin’ at all!”
And you’ll be on the road to perfection.
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