Tongue vs. Mind

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

My parents aimed to be godly in the ways they raised my brother and me.  When we had issues with our mouths, we got to read the book of James.  It usually worked.  Nothing like a little scripture immediately after being a smart-mouth to make you see the error of your ways.  It could be more painful than a spanking. 

Well, this blog isn’t a retrospective on parenting methods, although I would endorse this particular tactic.  No, this blog is about a personal struggle.  I’ve been wrestling with dear old James for a few days now.  I’ve never really had much trouble with my mouth (my mom might dispute that), but my mind… that’s where the real battle takes place.  This morning as I was studying, I couldn’t help but ponder and question the third chapter of James.  Isn’t the tongue only a tool of the mind?  Isn’t it the mind that has truly been “set on fire by hell”?  I know it feels that way in my life sometimes.  I can keep my mouth shut; I can’t simply switch off my brain. 

So is it true what James says that he who can control his mouth is “able to keep his whole body in check”?  Is the mind part of the body or is it excluded from that assertion?  How does one tame the mind?  Particularly if the tongue, which is controlled by the mind, is itself untamable.  If the tongue is untamable doesn’t that by extension imply that the mind, too, is untamable?  What about “taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ” as Paul admonishes?  But, captive isn’t the same as tame.  Many wild animals have been held captive but never tamed.  My puppy Macy is a beautiful example of captive yet untamed. 

So what is the resolve?  Maybe it’s not about taming, controlling, restraining the mind but about, here’s Paul again, renewing the mind.  To renew is to regenerate, reincarnate, or reestablish.  Ahhh… that sounds better.  The tongue, it can be controlled, restrained.  The mind on the other hand is completely uncontrollable to the point that it must be reestablished by our loving redeemer. 

Somehow, that resolution is comforting to my restless mind.


3 thoughts on “Tongue vs. Mind

  1. You answered your own question beautifully. The mind cannot of its own volition control itself. It can only be renewed. The next question is how is it renewed? The answer lies in the data we allow to be inserted. The brain is very similar to a computer. When we start out it is basically a blank hard drive with a few God given programs. But we learn to walk, talk, express emotions, etc. The renewing is a direct result of the input. We cannot expect to renew our minds if we are not willing to change the data. So, the next question would be what kind of data is necessary for a renewing of the mind?

    I look forward to your answer!

    1. Well Daddy, that’s a very Lockean view you have there. I tend to think more than just the result of what we put in (although that is a huge factor… out of the abundance of the heart, etc…) we have to deal with the corrupted nature of our fallen selves. Even if we are on a strict diet of things that are true, noble, just, pure, and lovely, we still have to contend with the seed of sin planted so many millenia ago. That is nothing our humanity can deal with, nor can it be explicitly changed by input alone. Our sinful nature, including our uncontrollable minds, must die with Christ in order to be rebirthed and renewed. That being said, once we have allowed, or rather, decide to continually allow, the renewal of our minds, then input becomes a big factor.

      Just my little thoughts on the matter…

      btw… the church I went to yesterday, the pastor agreed with me on drinking, you on women in ministry 🙂

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