Our Ship’s Governor: The Tongue
Daily Devotional for November 28th
Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. James 3:4
Does your mouth get you into trouble? Do you have a tendency of saying hurtful things to people when you are angry, hurt or discouraged? If so, then the devil has an avenue to influence, not just your tongue, but your entire life. James reveals in his epistle that the tongue is compared to an unruly horse, sailing ships, and if out of control, a fire. Out of all things that can be tamed, the tongue cannot be tamed by man; only God can tame the tongue.
James reveals the size of the tongue and the impact it can have in our lives. The governor of a ship is a small part of the ship, but is able to turn about the entire ship with everyone onboard. It can change our entire course. This is especially important to preachers and others who are in ministry. The ship’s governor is turned about by the captain who turns the helm. So in effect, thousands of people on the ship can be impacted by one person’s choice. This is one of the most revealing illustrations of how our tongue can change the course of all who hear us.
Our words and doctrine can turn the direction of people. Although James will refer to the destruction that the tongue can cause, this verse seemingly does not speak of the tongue in a negative way. Only that it is a small thing that can impact greatly. The ship is driven of fierce winds! Fierce winds can cause devastation to the ship, but the helm will use those winds to take the ship away from destruction at sea.
You are at the helm of your ship. The governor is your tongue. Even though you are in control of your ship, the devil can still turn you if he can control your tongue. How does he do this? Most of the time it is through a bad temper, uncontrollable emotions etc. This is why allowing God access into our lives to perform a greater work of sanctification is so important. The devil does not have to be at the helm with his hand on the wheel as long as he can influence you. You have the control of the entire ship by simply controlling your tongue.
If you are at a place in your life today where your words cause great destruction and you look back and have to apologize for harmful things you’ve said in a weak moment, then it is time to ask the Lord to perform a work on your ship’s helm and governor. Come to Him today by faith. He will do just that.