It has been said that the “tongue” is one of the most exercised muscles of our body. It has been estimated that in a typical week, the average person will speak enough words to fill a 500 page book! However, for the Christian, the use of the tongue must be a matter of careful forethought and discipline. The Bible warns that believers who do not bring restraint to their tongue and speech have been deceived — and without such control over their words, their religious acts are worthless and hypocritical. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26). It is a deception for any of us to think that Jesus can be Lord over our life, without also becoming Lord over our tongue.
The reference to a “bridle” in the previous verse is the leather harness and bit placed in a horse’s mouth to control it. In the same manner, Christians must allow the Holy Spirit to bridle their tongue, and bring restraint to their words. David used a similar device as a metaphor to describe his tight control on his mouth to avoid sinning with his tongue, especially when the ungodly were around, where it’s easy to develop a critical tongue, or pick up their bad tongue habits, such as profanity. “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me” (Psalms 39:1).