“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”
What a wise prayer from King David! The words that we allow to come out of our mouths are so important. Throughout scripture there is an emphasis on using our words for good and not for harm. In the ten commandments alone, two are directly related to our speech: do not lie, and do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus himself says that the words we speak are a reflection of our heart. He says in Luke 6:45 “out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” The apostle Paul also instructs us only to use our words to build up, never to tear down. Finally, James warns that careless words can be as harmful as a wildfire, and that whoever doesn’t stumble in what they say is a perfect person. It’s a difficult task. James even goes so far as to say “no human being can tame the tongue.”
That’s why we need this prayer of David. Our hearts are full of impurity. We live in a world that tries to force-feed us toxic sludge, and all too often we’re more than happy to indulge. Rather than filling our hearts with the word of God, we fill it with worldliness, lust, greed, and hatred. Our mouths follow suit.
As Jesus said, whatever we’re filling ourselves with is what we will produce. If we want to control our tongue, we must first be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let the word of God dwell in your heart. Read it often, meditate on it, and pray about it. Let Christ, not the world, fill your heart. And let your speech overflow with the goodness and glory of God.
It is so hard to control our language. It can be so difficult not to repeat the common phrases of the world or to use the same language the rest of our peers do. It’s so hard not to lash out when we’re angry or speak in ways that will help us “fit in” in the culture we live in. The only way to tame our tongues is through you. I pray that you will guard our mouths, keep watch over our lips, and help us not to stumble because of our words.
In Jesus’ Name,