Carelessness was the reason it began. And in a matter of moments, it raged out of control.
The Rim Fire—so named because of its close proximity to the Rim of the World vista point, was the third largest wildfire in California’s history and the largest on record in the Sierra Nevada. The fire started on August 17, 2013 and wasn’t contained until October 24. By the time firefighters brought it under control, it had burned 257,314 acres and a number of structures.
According to James, a small part of my anatomy can do more damage than a raging wildfire. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. (James 3:5 NLT)
What starts as a small campfire or a spot of burning rubbish ignited by a carelessly tossed cigarette can quickly turn into a raging wildfire under the right conditions. Only the determined work of well-trained firefighters can extinguish it. And my out of control tongue? It’s similar. Only by the power of God’s Spirit can I bring it under control.
An out of control tongue can spread gossip, speak lies, manipulate, shower unkind thoughts, spew judgmental insults, complain constantly, and do any number of other unmentionable things. Just as backing away from a wildfire won’t put it out, so trying to ignore what I know is one of my tongue issues doesn’t have any impact on the outcome. I must put forth effort to stem its destructive march.
Wildfires spread massive destruction, and an out of control tongue can repeat the action. Only by God’s guidance can I use it for good rather than evil. Just as my tongue can disseminate the above negatives, it can also scatter positive qualities like kindness, joy, peace, encouragement, love, support, and goodness.
Is your tongue out of control?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may the words of our mouths be pleasing in Your sight.
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