The long dark hallway was unfamiliar, so I stuck close behind my friend as we made our way to the kitchen, trying to step as quietly as possible to not wake up the household. When she flipped on the kitchen lights, I was startled by something I’d never seen before. Long black shiny bugs went scampering everywhere. It looked like there must be thousands. They were milling around in the open trash can, running over the counters, across the floor. Apparently we’d disturbed them.
With the lights out, the roaches were comfortably scavenging without notice, but once they were in the spotlight, they took off at lightning speed going for cover!
That was my first encounter with that kind of night creature. I was probably ten years old and I remember being horrified by the thought that thousands of gruesome, crawly, sinister looking intruders, were milling around through the house during the hours we should be sleeping. My friend acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary. She didn’t seem to notice the bugs and didn’t even mention them as she slipped across the kitchen to grab a bag of chips for us to munch on through the night.
My friend was oblivious to the disease-carrying-beetles and showed no reaction to their presence at all.
That scene is embedded securely in my memory and I get flashbacks almost any time I walk through a dark and unfamiliar home late at night. I’ve never encountered an army of pests quite that large, but I’ve had a few run-ins with nocturnal critters through the years.
The sad thing is, I’m realizing I’m a little like my friend when it comes to ignoring gruesome night crawlers.
I have some ugly garbage-dwellers that I’ve ignored.
My focus this year on “Decreasing” and “Exalting Christ” has brought things to light that I didn’t even realize were hiding under cover. Starting each morning by asking the Spirit to open my eyes to how I’m more prone to self-exaltation rather than Christ-exaltation, has put a spotlight on some ugly, creepy-crawly creatures that apparently have been running loose without my notice.
The ugliest creature that keeps “running for cover when the light goes on” is that same old pest I’ve struggled with before. My mouth. I talk way too much. Always have.
The Spirit has been gracious to bring conviction through the years and the Word has challenged me:
[box]“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Prov. 10:19)[/box]
Have you heard about the time I went on a “tongue fast”? I was a young mom, and I became so disgusted with my inability to control my harsh words that I determined to just “be quiet” for three days. My children were old enough for me to explain to them why I was “holding my tongue.” Thankfully my daughter was able to read my quickly scrawled notes when I needed to communicate.
By God’s grace, I’ve grown some in the years since the “fast,” but there are still days when I find myself wishing I could tape my mouth shut!
How about you? You may never have literally taped your mouth shut, but could your tongue use a little taming?
Today, why don’t we start by reading through James 3:1–12 together?
After reading this passage, do you think the problem is the tongue or the heart?
These passages seem to indicate that the real issue is our heart rather than our tongue . . . or could it be both?
I have some ideas on this and also suggestions for taming this unruly animal. But first I’d like to hear from you in the comment section below, and then please check back and we’ll continue looking into the matter of the tongue tomorrow. See ya then!
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