keeping one’s body in check

James tells us that one who controls their tongue is able to keep the rest of their body in check. That could mean that if our words are marked by holiness (truth and love in Jesus), the rest of our life follows.

What gets us in trouble, even if we are only speaking to ourselves? The tongue. That is why the psalmist (attributed to David) asks God to set a watch over their tongue. Otherwise the psalmist is afraid they’ll be drawn to do evil. Getting to the core of that, we do wrong when our actions including our words are not in line with loving God with all our being and doing and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

So it is best to check our impulses and not act on many of them. Particularly when it’s about saying something which while we may be thinking it, is not particularly edifying in itself and potentially destructive of another. And we need to bring such thoughts to God. Oftentimes in confession of sin along with prayers such as we find in the psalms. We’re going to find often enough that our thoughts and judgments were awry, off the mark. And we are reminded again by James that we’re not qualified to stand in judgment of others, anyhow. As scripture elsewhere reminds us, we first need to judge ourselves. Often what we think we see in others is what we already know exists in ourselves. We fail to judge ourselves. Until we do that, we can’t help anyone, even when they could use our input. In such matters of course, we would have to tread ever so lightly and slowly.

So today and everyday we need to slow down, calm down, and keep a lot of our thoughts to ourselves and God. We need to focus on our own problems and be an example to others of those who follow the Lord with their tongues and then all the rest of their body.

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