Accepting Guidance

By |2023-09-09T02:33:39-04:00September 9th, 2023|

The air smelled of leather and oats as we stood in the barn where my friend Michelle was teaching my daughter to ride a horse. Michelle’s white pony opened its mouth as she demonstrated how to place the metal bit behind its teeth. As she pulled the bridle over its ears, Michelle explained that the bit was important because it allowed the rider to slow the horse and steer it to the left or right.

A horse’s bit, like the human tongue, is small but important. Both have great influence over something big and powerful—for the bit, it’s the horse. For the tongue, it’s our words (James 3:3, 5).

Our words can run in different directions. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings” (v. 9). Unfortunately, the Bible warns that it’s very hard to control our speech because words spring from our hearts (Luke 6:45). Thankfully, God’s Spirit, Who indwells every believer, constantly helps us grow in patience, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). As we cooperate with the Spirit, our hearts change and so do our words. Profanity turns to praise. Lying gives way to the power of truth. Criticism transforms into encouragement.

Taming the tongue isn’t just about training ourselves to say the right things at the right time. It’s about accepting the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as a horse responds to a bit, so that our words generate the kindness and encouragement our world needs.