~Before sharing Part II, and so that these words will not come across as though I have it all together, I need to emphasize how I struggle in these areas. In fact, I really blew it yesterday! God does not want us to give up, though. He wants us free in both areas of bridling our mouths so that we can use them for what He intended, bringing praise and glory to Him with our lives! Blessings in the fight!
To understand about bridling the mouth, we must grasp the problem first. Scripture is clear about matters of uncontrolled tongues. Out of the abundance of the heart man speaks. With our words, we merely spew out what we have stored up. When poisoned with hatred, bitterness and such, the heart’s venom simply bubbles out.
Unbridled eating is trickier to peg. Christ is clear that nothing we eat will defile the heart. Instead, chronic lack of self-control with food is usually just a matter of loving to eat. Since so much of our socializing involves food, and since there are true physiological factors that can alter one’s appetite, problems with overindulgence of food is harder to scrutinize. We know, too, that Christ spent much time dining with others; He showed a fondness for good food!
I love to eat, and do not even get me started about chocolate (can I get a witness?), but avoiding the issue of overindulgence is a mistake. Although not true in every situation, unbridled eating can be symptomatic of a defiant heart that refuses the Spirit’s call for moderation. With either incessant overeating or unbridled tongues, the problems could stem from pride. Here is why.
Pride quenches the Holy Spirit. It blocks His bridling work. Pride allows self to say whatever it wants about someone, opposite of allowing the Holy Spirit to soften the heart with God’s love. Pride permits self to give in to selfish abandon by chronic overeating, rather than yielding to the Spirits control.
When pride rules, I feel completely entitled to rip others apart, and am incapable of seeing my own wrongs. I feel entitled to lash out at someone who wronged me. When pride dominates, I deserve that chocolate syrup-topped ice cream every night. I owe it to myself to always super-size my fast food meals, regardless of how it makes me feel or what my lipid profile reveals. Notice the I’s and Me’s? Tell tale symptoms of pride.
To help with bridling our words, I found this recent suggestion of three simple tongue gatekeepers. Before speaking about someone, ask yourself,
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
I like these gatekeepers. It reminds me of the principle of letting the law of kindness always be on my lips. God wants us to use kind words with others, but it takes work. I should know, since I am one of His slowest learners in this area! However, sensitivity and yielding to the Spirit will produce the fruit of kindness on our lips.
If I had it all together with food, I would probably be busy running a highly successful weight management company! For some, especially for those of us with sweet cravings, this area is an enormous battle and takes discipline. Any successes I have experienced have come when I value His presence and taking care of His temple more than the extra food which I think I need. When I instead exchange my bondage to food with devotion to Him, He blesses me. I feel healthy and encouraged to hunger and thirst for Him more. However, as I said earlier, I am a long way from perfection in bridling my mouth. In fact, one reason I wrote this is to motivate myself!
To help with bridling what we ingest, I came up with my own mouth gatekeepers. For me, even remembering one will help. Perhaps I will post them on my refrigerator!
Is it necessary?
Is it beneficial?
Is it really going to satisfy?
With either area, the bottom line is that we MUST HAVE GOD’S HELP!
I do wish I had grown up on a farm, but I would have had much to learn. I am still skittish around horses, and understand even less about bridling them. By the power of Christ in me, though, I am learning to bridle my mouth by letting Him bridle my heart. Perhaps city slickers can bridle after all!
For Part I of this series, follow this link: Of Horses, For Mouths ~ How to Bridle the Mouth