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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

James 3:7-8, "For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and  hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."

This morning, one of the popular thoughts bantered about in modern-day society is that of the "civilized man" or the "civilized culture." While I am thankful to live in a land where people are (for the most part) are "civil" to one another, civilizing a person does  not change the nature of the person. As the true proverb states, dogs return to their vomit and sows to their wallowing in the mire. My dog growls at me when I try to keep her from fulfilling this proverb, and I have known some that kept pigs as pets. They would faithfully wash their pigs and sometimes put collars around their necks, but try as they might, the pig would dive into a mudhole at the first opportunity.  Likewise, man, by nature, is prone to wickedness and abominable iniquity. Therefore, a civilized man is one that has been leashed (in one way or another) to keep from practicing what he desires.


James is in the midst of describing the evils of the tongue. Even though one of our smallest members, it can kindle the greatest fires. Much like ships are turned with small rudders and horses by small bits, so our tongues can turn our entire bodies. While we many times focus on the evils of the tongue, notice that James points out (while not his thrust) that the tongue is capable of blessing. While it ought not so to be that we curse and bless from the same source, the fact is our tongue is sometimes practiced to cursing and is also sometimes practiced to blessing.  Our mouths, while the source of great fires of discord, can be a source of strength to someone at a critical moment in their lives. We may drop an encouraging word (without thinking of the impact) and have someone come back years later to to tell us what it meant to them that we said what we said.

James's thrust, however, is on the unruliness of the tongue. He mentions the fact that men have tamed the different beasts of the earth. While it is not a common practice among the people I live around, I have seen wild animals that were tamed (including tigers and mountain lions). Many times, the taming proved unsuccessful on the actual beasts that were taken into captivity, but the taming was successful on their offspring. A beast that is born in captivity is much more susceptible to taming than one that is captured.  Does such work with man? Can we take a barbarian from the jungles and make his tongue clean? Can we make the tongues of his children clean who are born in a civilized land? Can years of civilization keep us from having wicked tongues?

James asserts the fact that while beasts are tamed, the tongue is not tamable. Many men have claimed to tame different beasts only to eventually have them "turn on them." I once watched a story about a man that had "tamed" a tiger that one day almost took his leg off. That being said, many people claim to have tamed their members (tongue included) and fallen into a dismal abyss from shortcomings thereafter. We are capable of doing abominable things (full of deadly poison) with our tongues when we do not keep the words of cursing in or let the words of blessing out. But, what happens when taming an animal proves unsuccessful? If a tiger is captured and his offspring tamed yet the tiger himself still wild and vicious, what is generally the case? Generally, he is either let loose or caged up.

Since we understand the letting our tongue loose cannot be the answer, it stands to reason that we must cage it up. The Lord has built a cage around the tongue that we need to exercise (keeping our mouths shut) to prevent fires of iniquity from bursting out.  Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to study to be quiet, do your own business, and work with your own hands. (I Thessalonians 4:11) We will never lay this old man down completely (this side of death or Christ's return). Therefore, this potential fire will be with us throughout this life. We are still capable of speaking out with the poison of asps from under our tongues. But, while we cannot rid ourselves of that potential, let us keep it under subjection (caged up) as we try to do with all our members that are still sold under sin.

One day, beloved, all those members that have that poison and unruliness (tongue included) will not haveto be kept in subjection or caged up. On that day, they will be changed in a moment and fashioned like unto the glorious members of Christ's body. In that heavenly clime, we will no longer have the fountain source bring forth bitter and sweet, and the there will be no possibility of this clean tongue wallowing in the mire once again. The change will be forevermore, and world without end will hear the endless praises from glorified lips and tongues that Jesus is Lord!

In Hope,

Bro Philip