“How can you lose your children within your own house?” I panicked.
Yet, the more I searched, the more stumped I was. My five-year-old and three-year-old were nowhere to be found.
Being new in a foreign country didn’t help my growing sense of alarm. Although we lived in a walled compound, kidnap scenarios crept into my thoughts. I’d been in every room of the house as well as their favorite hiding places outside.
My call became louder and more desperate.
“Girls? Where are you?!!”
Frantically, I began opening cabinets and cupboards. At what point did I call the local police and what would my little bit of Chinese language allow me to say?
As I began my third loop through the bedrooms, I caught the slightest whiff of smoke. My sense of smell went on full alert and my blood-hound nose led me to an odd cabinet built underneath our stairwell.
Instinctually, I flung open the cabinet doors and found two wide-eyed preschoolers in a grey cloud of smoke holding a box of matches.
I went from fear to relief to anger in a nano-second. My tongue ignited quicker than the matches in their little hands.
“The tongue is a fire.” (James 3:6)
Imagine doing your entire day with a lighted torch at the end of your tongue. This fire doesn’t kindle wood. Instead, it sparks the thoughts and emotions of others. The more passion that spills from your heart, the larger the reach of the fire.
Now deep within, Jesus has set up His residence in you. He lives within your spirit and bears witness there. His Spirit overflows into your mind and emotions, whenever we submit our thoughts and feelings to Him.
Sometimes, our soul surges with power from His Spirit life, but sometimes we allow the physical realm to dictate our thoughts and attitudes.
If our emotion and thought life has trouble connecting with the Spirit, think what a problem our tongue has. It’s the physical tip of our very physical body.
Our tongue tends to stay more connected with the world than with the Spirit. It’s kinda like my girl’s hold-out in the cabinet.
Although one day our tongue must surrender to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, it still belligerently hunkers down and stubbornly demands its own way despite the Father’s search for us. It may be small, but it’s extremely obstinate.
James says no man can tame the tongue. No amount of coercing can change our perverse tongue. Talking to it and making rules for it won’t make it give up.
That’s not to say that it can’t be tamed at all. It’s just that we can’t do it ourselves.
Our only hope for the tongue is daily submission to His Holy Spirit.
“…the Lord Jesus Christ…will transform the body of our humble state (including our tongue) into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21).
How do you surrender your tongue to Him each day?