How to have a beautiful mouth

So important to control the tongue
We are judged by what we say

The Bible emphasizes that if we desire to see good days, we had better keep our tongues from evil.

(Psa 34:11-13 NIV)  Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. {12} Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, {13} keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.

We will have to give an account of the words we utter on Judgment Day.

(Mat 12:36 NIV)  But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Our tongue is a reflection of our heart

(Mat 12:34 NIV)  You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

When we go to see a doctor, he sometimes asks us to stick out our tongues. Apparently, the doctor is able to determine many ailments just by looking at our tongue.

This is also true in the spiritual sense. What we say reveals what we are. That is why controlling the tongue is so important. If we don’t control our tongues, it reveals our perverseness and cause dishonor to the name of God.

Our mouths can cause great evil

Jesus taught that it is possible to defile ourselves with the things we speak. Therefore it is so important to ensure that the right things come out of our mouths.

(Mat 15:11 NIV)  What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'"

The tongue is only a small organ but it is so hard to tame and it can cause such great damage.

(James 3:2-12 NIV)  We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. {3} When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. {4} Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. {5} Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. {6} The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. {7} All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, {8} but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. {9} With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. {10} Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. {11} Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? {12} My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

What we say determine our destiny

(James 3:3-5 NIV)  When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. {4} Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. {5} Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body…

The tongue is only a small part of the body but it is able to set the whole direction. Controlling the mouth of a horse allows us to control where the animal goes. And controlling the rudder of a ship allows us to control where the ship goes. Likewise if we control our tongues, we control our destiny. A story that illustrates this point is the story of the 12 spies.

When the spies returned after spying the land of Canaan, they became divided into two distinct groups. One group of 10 spies said that they could not conquer the land because they cannot fight the inhabitants.

(Num 13:26-28 NIV)  They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. {27} They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. {28} But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.

The other group of 2 – Caleb and Joshua – said that they could conquer the land.

(Num 13:30 NIV)  Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."

The words that the spies spoke sealed their destiny. The people of Israel, who agreed with the first group, never entered the Promised Land. They were destined to roam about for forty years in the desert. Only the two spies who declared with their mouths that they could inhabit the land did.

(Num 14:28-30 NIV)  So tell them, 'As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: {29} In this desert your bodies will fall--every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. {30} Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

God sealed the destiny of the people according to what they have declared with their mouths. If we want to enjoy the blessings of God, we need to declare His promises. If we declare our own failures, we will surely be doomed to failure.             

Cultivate a beautiful tongue
Lips that rejoice and praise God

(Psa 71:23 NIV)  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you-- I, whom you have redeemed.

(Psa 63:3 NIV)  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

(Eph 5:19-20 NIV)  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, {20} always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The most important thing we can do with our mouths is to use it to praise God. Praising God is not a waste of time. It doesn’t just give pleasure to God; it edifies us as well. When we praise God, we deliberately think of the good in our life. Even in “bad” situations, we look for the good that God can accomplish out of it. This deliberate effort increases our optimism and gives us a positive perspective to life.

Lips that spread knowledge

(Prov 5:1-2 NIV)  My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, {2} that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.

(Prov 15:7 NIV)  The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

Spreading knowledge is not restricted to signing up as a Sunday School teacher. When we counsel or talk to our friends, we can use wisdom from the Bible to edify them.

In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro gave him some good advice that made his job so much more efficient.

Parents should teach God’s truth to their children.

(Deu 11:18-19 NIV)  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. {19} Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Avoid a sinning tongue
Lips that are deceitful

(Rom 3:13-14 NIV)  "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." {14} "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

(Prov 16:13 NIV)  Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.

(Psa 120:2 NIV)  Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

The Bible has severe warnings for people who have deceitful tongues. We must not use deceit as a means to get out of difficult situations. We may be tempted to lie our way out of a difficult situation at work but if we choose to speak only truth, God will honor us and bless our work.

Another form of deception that is much more subtle is flattery. But the Bible is clear that flattery IS deception.

(Psa 12:2-3 NIV)  Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. {3} May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue

Lips that are involved in unwholesome talk

(Prov 4:24 NIV)  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

(Prov 16:28 NIV)  A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

When we engage in casual conversations, they sometimes degenerate to unwholesome talk. We gossip about other people. We crack distasteful jokes. The things that come out of our mouths defile us.

The apostle Paul warns against common sins, many of which are associated with the tongue.

(2 Cor 12:20 NIV)  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

Lips that are arrogant

(Psa 31:18 NIV)  Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

(Prov 16:5 NIV)  The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

When we talk with others, do we deliberately bring out things that glorify ourselves? Do we put people down and highlight our superiority? God detests the proud and He will surely bring them down.

Speaking rashly

(Prov 13:3 NIV)  He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

(Prov 21:23 NIV)  He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

We have a tendency to sin whenever we make a rash reply. Therefore in moments of anger, it is best to hold our breath and our tongue and just not say anything until we have cooled down. The old saying – count to ten – is good advice.

One example of this in the Bible is in the life of Moses. He was told by God to speak to a rock and it would bring forth water. But because Moses was angry with the Israelites, he said rash words to them and struck the rock instead of speaking to it. That caused him the opportunity to enter the Promised Land.

(Num 20:7-12 NIV)  The LORD said to Moses, {8} "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink." {9} So Moses took the staff from the Lord's presence, just as he commanded him. {10} He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" {11} Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. {12} But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

Idle speech

(Mat 12:36 NIV)  But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

By careless word, I take it to mean words we say carelessly, without seriously meaning it.

For example, we should not say things to God that we don’t mean. Someone said that Christians don't tell lies but they sing them. How true! We sing of our commitment to surrender everything to God without seriously considering if we meant them.

Likewise, we say things to other people and make promises that we don’t really mean. Jesus warns against making empty promises.

(Mat 5:37 NIV)  Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.