How Do I Control My Mouth?
“The tongue of the wise brings healing.”
See Proverbs 12:18
Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to teach you how to control your mouth? It took me forever to learn how to do this, and I couldn’t do it on my own. It wasn’t until I came to know Christ deeply that He taught me just how extremely important my words actually were. Before that, because of my unrenewed thinking, I didn’t really care what I said or how I said it—or to whom I said it to.
For years, I was a Christian who couldn’t give a rip about my words. I wasn’t allowing myself to exude any self-control, although it was in me (see Galatians 5:22-23). I’d be the first to slam someone on social media, or in real life, completely dishonoring them. I’d be quick to voice something negative about another individual, send a nasty text, or jump in on a conversation where someone was getting verbally destroyed. It didn’t matter if I liked them or not. Plus, I always added my own fuel to the fire of the gossip—gossiping was almost a hobby for me.
I was a Christian who couldn’t care less about what I said because I refused to use my Holy Spirit filter for my face. My mind hadn’t yet matured into who I truly was inside, which was a loving, respectful person (see 1 Corinthians 2:16).
I’d slander others on a whim, it didn’t matter if they were standing in the room next to me or in the other room. Then I’d get mad at them if they took offense to my so-called joking, “Oh you’re just being a baby.” I’d poke fun at people with no regard for their feelings, and then I’d resent them for being “so sensitive.” I think back now on some of the stuff I said to people—my family, friends, employees, and even some of my enemies—and I cringe. If I’m not careful, I can allow the enemy to make me think that’s how I should still live and act. But those choices will never match up with who I am inside: a caring person, a child of God.
Although I’ll let one slip out now and again, and it never feels right when I do it, back then I’d curse as if I just got out of military training. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. “Don’t you dare judge me!” was how I responded when I got called out on just how foul my language was.
I acted as if I was a slave to my mouth–sin coming to life through my flesh! And my soul—my mind, free will, and emotions—hadn’t yet caught up with Christ who was in me. Even worse, if you wanted to get into an argument with me?…Brace yourself…I was one of the best when it came to insults and verbalizing “what all is wrong with you!”
My problem was, as a Christian—a person whom Christ Himself indwelled—I would not allow Him to control my mouth. He was there, infused with my spirit (see Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20), but I had Him gagged by my own free will. He was in me but I wouldn’t allow Him to exude any self-control out of me. I was denying who I was in my spirit because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit which should be growing organically from me each day without effort (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Still yet, the sin of the flesh and old mindsets refused to listen to Him which resulted in my mouth controlling me–not the other way around–severe trouble always followed suit. This is why the Bible says, “The power of life and death is in the tongue” (see Proverbs 18:21). James, the half-brother of Jesus, even makes the claim that our tongues are like small sparks which can set an entire forest ablaze (see James 3:5).
I kept hearing in my spirit, “Matt, watch what you say.” “Maaaaatt, do not say that. That’s not who you are.” “Matthew, don’t send that text.” “Don’t post that.” “Those words won’t make you feel better. Let it go. I’ll handle it.”
The main reason why I didn’t control my mouth was because I didn’t have a deep respect for Jesus just yet. Why? Because I still didn’t know Him very well. There are other reasons, such as I wasn’t made to have an uncontrollable mouth as a new creation in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17); as well as my spirit is perfect and perfect spirits don’t pop off all the time or curse people out. But for this devotional, I want to focus on a change in my attitudes and actions based on getting to know Jesus deeper. Once I knew Him deeper, the more I’d know myself deeper, because He and I are one (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
He had saved me from hell–which is a very big deal–but that was about as far as I appreciated Him. So how could I possibly let Him live through me if I wasn’t deeply acquainted with Him? I couldn’t. I needed to get to know Him more intimately, and to this very day I’m still doing that by His Spirit (see John 14:26).
Thankfully, God has promised this process of getting to know Him will not end until we shed this body-shell (see Philippians 1:6). So I’m always confident in the fact that Jesus is constantly taking me to new levels of knowledge of His grace. But today, right now, this very moment—I have all the knowledge I need to accomplish what He wants me to accomplish today. This is why the Bible says God takes us from glory to glory as we learn more about His will, which is Jesus Christ in us, living out of us (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). It’s not about knowing more, it’s about being who you are as you grow in heavenly knowledge.
I realized as a teenager God had given me a gift of creativity with my words. For most of my life I wasn’t using my words for Him. Unbeknownst to me, because I didn’t know Jesus deeply–or my spiritual identity–I was using my words for the devil’s benefit. I had tons of excuses as to why I said the things I said, and I had many people and situations to blame for why my mouth was out of control. God wanted to change that.
Simple: By me getting to know Jesus, personally, moment by moment.
If you’re ever going to learn how to control your mouth, you have to allow Jesus to live through you, it’s the only way. Therefore, you have to realize that you and Him are connected permanently (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). If you try to pull this off any other way, you will be putting too much pressure on yourself. You have to go from trying to trusting.
His Holy Spirit will teach you who He is, as well as who you are. He educates you on how to use your words for love, not for hate; for healing, not retaliation; for peacemaking, not for trouble-making; for boundary-setting, not for letting yourself be taken advantage of. Christ in you teaches you self-control…self…control, in all things, this includes your words.
So today, my friends, know this: If you want to control your mouth, get to know who you really are as a child of God! Get to know the character of Christ! You are holy! So speak that way! Sure, you’re allowed to say anything you want–you are free (see Galatians 5:1). But once you realize that you want what God wants, then you will organically change how you speak! At first, this will be like trying to cage a wild animal. But that’s just the sin of the flesh–which you reign over–and old cobweb thinking. As time goes on, and with truth, you’ll eventually find the sweet spot of knowing that your words are changing the world for the better!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for helping me get my words under control. You and I both know how OUT of control they were. Wow, when I think about how I used to speak on a regular basis, all I can do is say thank you. Thank you for protecting me, correcting me, and seeing my potential at that time. Thank you for your mercy and grace! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who feel as if they are under the control of their mouths, rather than the other way around, HELP THEM. In the name of Jesus, I ask that you begin to teach them who they are in Christ. Help them to understand your unconditional love for them. Bring new people into their lives who will be good influences, and remove the people who contribute to the opposite. Help them begin to speak the words that give life, because life is inside of them! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!