Do I use my words wisely? 

Do I direct and influence others the right way, or the wrong way?


We LOOKED at what is true ‘if we don’t stumble in what we say’.


Let’s check out the 2 illustrations in verses 3-5a to understand the power our words have to ‘control’ and  ‘direct’ our lives. 

Open GODcha to the Book of James.

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Before We Begin, Let’s Pray

Oh Lord, as we come to Your Word today, help us to shut out all other voices as You teach us.  And we ask that You give us the clarity we need to understand what Your will is, for You are our God. Let Your good Spirit lead us on level ground, (Psa 143:10).


Remember Context

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The context back in verse 2 is:

“if we don’t continuously stumble (sin) in what we say, we are perfect (spiritually mature) able to bridle (lead, direct, control) the whole body.”

Do you remember what James meant?


LOOK at What God Says

Let GODcha steer you on the right path.

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Where will you begin?

Begin By Reading 

Let’s read James 3:1-12 again, asking the 5W’s and H.

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Yes, refresh your memory.

There is no substitute for repeated readings of the text.

And even better –  read it aloud.  You will find yourself automatically memorizing it.


Now focus on James 3:3-5a.

Remember LISTEN!

What are the 2 illustrations that James gives to help us understand if we control our tongues, then we control the whole body, everything? 

1. A Horse and Bit 

How do you control, – direct a horse?


You put a metal bit in and against the horses tongue,

Put a harness on over his head, with reins, and viola!

The horse obeys, and we can turn it’s whole body.


2. A Ship and Rudder

How do you control –  direct, a ship?


A small little rudder directs massive ships.

You know, we used to have a sail boat, and  it wasn’t the sail or the wind that directed the sail boat, it was the rudder.



1. The bit and a rudder, are 2 ‘small’ items, yet they exercise great ‘POWER to direct.

 The tongue is a ‘small member of our bodies BUT is dangerous because of its controlling ‘POWER!

The tongue has the POWER to direct in the right way, or the wrong way!


2. We sin with our tongues more than with any other part of our body.

We sin just by saying something!

If we don’t control our tongues, they will control us.



How have I sinned with my tongue?

Do I control my tongue, or does it control me?

Respond to God…LIVE it out! 


Now Consider:

1. What kind of damage can a runaway horse, or ship, do?

A runaway horse could mean an injury, or death to the rider and pedestrians.

A runaway ship that wrecks could mean injury to the captain, pilot, and passengers.


2. So, what can our run away, tongue (words) lead to?

They can:

  • Tear apart relationships, families, & marriages;
  • Divide and rip a nation apart;
  • Lead to fights, murder, or even to war.



Do I have a run away tongue?

Do my words tend to tear down, rip, divide, cause strife?

What kind of damage have my run away words caused?

Respond to God…LIVE it out! 


3. But if we don’t stumble, what can our controlled tongues lead to?

They can:

  • Build up, strengthen and encourage, nurture, inspire, motivate;
  • Mend and heal;
  • Bring comfort and joy.

For example:

A doctor’s words can lead us to take medicine, or have a surgery.

A parent’s words can greatly affect the direction of a child’s life.

We see:  Our words affect us, and the lives of others.

Do you see: Our words control our deeds and our lives, determining a positive or negative direction!



Can I control my tongue?

Who did I last speak to?

Did the words I last spoke buildup, encourage, nurture, and/or motivate? 

Do I underestimate the guidance I give with my words?

Have my words directed others to make right or wrong choices?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


4. What is the Term of Conclusion in v5?

How does James sum it up?

What do you understand?

The tongue is  small BUT it boasts

The ‘great things‘ can be good, or evil.


What can the boasting of the tongue create?



Do I boast, brag?

Am I even aware that I brag? 

Is my conversation usually: ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’?

Do I brag about what I have and/or do;

about my spouse;

about my children/grandchildren;

my accomplishments? 

Why do I brag, or try to one up others?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


Let’s see how believers control and direct their tongues?

 Truth Explains Truth 

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Fine Tune Your Ears!

1. What did God promise in Ezekiel?

God promised a new heart and a new spirit, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit within.

That new heart and the Spirit cause one to obey. (Eze 36:26-27)


2. What have believers received?

a. Those who believe in Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit within. (Joh 7:37-39)

b. We receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. (Act 1:8); (Rom 8:11)

Understand: a new heart, a transformed heart, and the Holy Spirit within means a transformed tongue and the power to control it.



When did I believe in Jesus, receiving a new heart and the Holy Spirit within?

Is my tongue giving evidence to this transformation?

What must I do to bring my tongue under control?

Respond to God…LIVE it out! 


What Do We LEARN


The tongue is like a bit and rudder, having the power to control and direct.

The tongue:

Is a small member of the body.

Exercises great power.

Can control the whole body.

Direct people in the right way or the wrong way!

Direct and influence lives.

Cause good or evil.

It boasts.



Believers Are Given Power to Control the Tongue.

If we are a child of God,

believing in Jesus,

then we have the power to direct the tongue

through a new heart and the Holy Spirit.

Each one of us must make a sincere effort daily to be sensitive to the Spirit who Ezekiel says causes us to walk in obedience, thus we submit, letting Him control our tongues.


How important it is that our tongues direct in the right way?

“The tongue also is small, yet it can direct the whole course of a man’s life. James is not pleading for a cowardly silence but for a wise use of speech.” Barclay


Let’s Call It a Day!

Meditate with your heart and ponder in your spirit what James is saying, (Psa 77:6). 


Note What You LEARNED

Did you start a List on the ‘right way to use our tongues‘? 

Note your discovery.

Video Tutorial>  Notes Tutorial >

Turn What You LEARNED Into a Prayer


THANK YOU FATHER, that You are the One who can tame the tongue. If there is anyone with us on this journey that You, Holy Spirit, have shown that they, as a habit of life, continuously speak no good thing, ultimately stumble continuously with their tongues – oh may they be convicted, confessing their sin and need of You, Lord Jesus. Oh, may they surrender to You, resulting in that changed life beginning to speak new words that would reflect they have a true saving faith.

For we who have bowed the knee to You Lord Jesus believing, surrendering our lives to You, may we realize that we have a new heart, that should speak new words. This new heart and You, Holy Spirit, now within, cause us to obey. So, controlling our tongues is now a choice. Oh Father, help us bring our tongues under control. Help us to recognize when we are boasting, and stop! May our words influence and direct others in the right way. Father, continue to transform us to be more like Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen!

Next: we will LEARN how the tongue should behave.

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