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A year of divine sanitation: Sanitise your tongue – Part 4


Chidi Okoroafor

Chidi Okoroafor

Text: James 3:1-18; Mathew 5:22; Revelation 21:8; Ezekiel 13:22; Mathew 12:36.

Key Verse: James 3:5, “In this way, also, the tongue is a small member and has dominion; even a small fire kindles a great forest.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

Th4 tongue is a small part of the human body, but it has strong influence over the human body and is difficult to control. To sanitise your tongue means to place your vocal organs under divine control. You need the help of God to be able to tame your tongue. Vocal Holiness is the purification of your tongue, so that it will be pleasing to God.

James, the author of the Book of James, appreciates the difficulty in taming the tongue and that is why he issues a special word of wise counsel to those aspiring to be teachers: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (verse 1).


Why this special counsel to teachers? This is because teachers have great influence over their audiences through the power of spoken word. Teachers instruct and impart knowledge through what they say and so, should be careful of the use of their tongues. Teachers should be conscious of the weight and potential influence of what they say, because words lie at the heart of the teaching ministry. To have an unreliable tongue is likely to provide a destructive model for those being taught.

Mastering of the tongue is a sign of Christian maturity. Thus, every believer in Jesus Christ should strive to attain the maturity of the tongue. Excessive use of the tongue dissipates anointing and God’s presence in the life of a believer. It is very important that you put your tongue on guard. Beware of unguarded speech! Restrain your tongue in silence, where it is necessary. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” You need to put to death your tongue, if it is pleasing your human nature, but not pleasing to God. A sanitised tongue should please and glorify God. A sanitised tongue encourages, exalts, lifts up, blesses and soothes the wound of the heart, praises God and does not slander.


There is extraordinary power and influence concentrated in this small object called the tongue. The tongue is also like the rudder in a boat. Large ships were not unknown in the ancient world. The ship that was originally to transport Paul across the Mediterranean en route to Rome held 276 people (Acts 27:37). We know that a large ship like the Isis could carry one thousand people. Yet such a capacious and heavy vessel was directed simply by a turn of the rudder! So it is with the tongue. The tongue is small, but its power, both for good and for ill, is out of all proportion to its size. “A fool’s tongue,” Bruce Waltke wryly notes, “is long enough to cut his own throat” (Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1–15, NICOT [Eerdmans, 2004], 102).

Yet, there is another side to this, a wonderfully encouraging side. Scripture teaches us that the tongue by which we express our deepest desires, instincts, and opinions may produce helpful and pleasing fruit. Writes the wise man of Proverbs 15:4: “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

The tongue, if not sanitised can destroy the Grace, Anointing, Goodwill, Reputation and Friendship that had taken years to build! A tongue that is not sanitised is like a poison, which can endanger your life. It is my prayer that you will pray like the Psalmist, “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips” (Psalm 141:3 (NLT)).
Today’s Nugget: A tongue that is not sanitised is like a poison and it can endanger your life.
Prayer: O Lord, sanctify my speech organ and make it holy in Jesus Name, Amen.
Prayer lines: 09078154261.
Dr. Chidi Okoroafor
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God Nigeria.

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