Encouragement for Today - July 9, 2010


July 9, 2010


The Valve

Luann Prater


"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."

James 3:5 (NIV)



My husband asked me to pick up some diesel fuel for the tractor.  I had his truck and he had put the gas can in a box so it wouldn't tip over.  Now, I'm 5'2", so can we just start there?  Things that taller-than-me folks can do becomes a bit more of an issue for this vertically challenged gal.  I pumped the gas into the can then tried to lift it, not only up to the bed of the truck, but over the top edge of the box.  It was then I discovered the little valve cover was open.


A cup of gas escaped through that tiny opening, and strategically ran from the top of my t-shirt to the top of my pants.  I panicked that my cell phone might ring and light my fire!  That wasn't the type of flame I was hoping God would fan in my life!


I scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower but the stench of gas remained in my nostrils. 


My lips are like that little valve.  It is such a small opening, yet the fuel that escapes can be unpleasant, caustic and even deadly.  Loose lips have snapped at my family.  Harsh tones have left friends feeling poisoned.  Careless words have killed the spirit in a vulnerable child. 


James tells us that our tongue is like a restless evil full of deadly poison. Ouch!  My husband didn't want me to spill that gas; we wanted to use it for good.  God doesn't want our tongues to open unless they are going to encourage and spur one another on. 


Several years ago I made a very small, but very life-changing decision.  When a hurtful thought comes into my head, I tighten my lips and force a pause button to appear in my brain.  When I allow myself to have just a second to think about the potential hazard that could come from ‘speaking my mind' it gives the Holy Spirit time to check my heart and motives.  In that pause moment I say, "Lord, take control of this tongue."  And He does. 


Do I get it right every time? No. But I can see fewer wrecks in my life, fewer wounds, fewer poison-tipped darts flying out of this mouth. And I no longer reek of gasoline I added to the fire.


Want to join me? Pause. Seal up the valve and allow the Holy Spirit to work for good through the words you speak.


Dear Lord, thank You for reminding us that our tongue can rip a heart apart, or seal it back together.  Teach us to pause long enough to give Your Spirit time to work in and through us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue: What You Say (and Don't Say) Will Improve Your Relationships and accompanying Workbook

Chat more with Luann on her blog or hear her on Encouragement Café every Saturday!

Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Jennifer Rothschild

For more daily encouragement, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!


Application Steps: 

Before anything negative slips past your lips today, hit the pause button. Pray that the Holy Spirit take control. Ask God to make you a peacemaker.



Why do I say things I regret later?


When will I surrender my tongue to Jesus?


How can I allow my words to encourage instead of destroy?


Power Verses:

James 3:17, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (NIV) 


Proverbs 27:15, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day." (NIV) 



© 2010 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105


Originally published Friday, 09 July 2010.