What is it about the Holy Spirit and the Tongue? Why is it that he takes over your speech when he comes in making tongues the immediate, visible indication of his infilling? Well, Proverbs 18:21 and James 3:1-12 explain things to us.
First of all, the power of life and death is in the tongue. You eat the fruit of your tongue in this life. Secondly, James goes into a whole discourse on the tongue. He says that the tongue is on fire. Before we are redeemed, our tongue is lit on fire by hell. You have to understand this, the tongue is always on fire. The question is, which fire lights up your tongue?
The description of the unredeemed tongue given by James in vs 6-8 is as follows:
a) It is a world of wickedness
b) It contaminates and depraves the whole body
c) It is lit up by hell and then goes on to set your whole body on fire with the same hellish flame
d) It is a restless, undisciplined and irreconcilable evil.
e) It is full of deadly poison
That said, I couldn’t help but notice that James compares the tongue to the radar of a ship. The radar sets the direction of the ship even against strong winds. In the same way, your tongue sets the direction of your life, regardless of what you face in life. That tells me that whatever force controls your tongue, controls and leads your life in the direction that it needs you to go. Another comparison made by James is that of a bit in a horses mouth. Using the bit, one is able to make the horse go wherever they want. The bit, controls the direction of the horse. In the same way, your tongue controls the direction of your life, whether this way or that. And the force controlling your tongue, is the force that is directing your life.
That said, the horror of having a tongue lit by the fires of hell is quite vivid. It means that hell or the devil, controls the direction your life takes. In this case, you are making your way to death at a steady and quick pace. It is therefore no wonder that when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost he manifested himself as tongues of fire and then went on to take control of the tongue by causing the 120 saints in the upper room to speak in tongues. In my own personal opinion, the fire of God touched them, setting their tongues aflame with the fire of heaven. They now had a new controlling force. The Holy Spirit of God, who could turn the bit or radar in the direction of heaven. Their lives were turned around so that now instead of walking towards death, they could walk towards life.
The call of Isaiah in Chapter 6 is very interesting to me. The moment he sees the vision of the Lord he realizes what a mess he is. He is immediately concerned with his filth but specifically he draws attention to his speech. He says “…I have filthy lips, and I live among people with filthy lips…” He realizes that his tongue is off. Funny enough, the cure for his corrupt speech is a coal of fire from the altar of the Lord. Once his mouth is touched with that Holy fire he is not just cleansed from his filth, but his tongue, his control point, is lit with a new fire. God’s own holy fire! Next he is commissioned with the following words “…go and say to this people…” Once the fire of God has touched his lips he can now speak life giving words. (The correction of God, even when it seems harsh, is always life giving).
The reason the Holy Spirit takes over the tongue first, is to put out the strange fire from the enemies camp and light it with fire from God’s Holy altar. With your tongue now lit with Holy fire, your life can fully be under the control of the Holy Ghost who can then lead you in the ways of the Lord and in the path of righteousness. What then can we say? Sweet Holy Spirit, I give you my tongue, my control point. Kill the strange fire of the enemy, and light my tongue with Holy fire from the altar of the Lord. Take my life and turn it this way and that so that I am walking the path of righteousness at all times. Thank you for redemption and for taking me over in Jesus Holy and Mighty name I pray, Amen!!