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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself on fire by hell.
-James 3:5-6 (NIV)
In today's suggested scripture readings, James reminds us of the power of the tongue. It's small but so is the bit in a horse's mouth and the rudder on a ship. But if you control a horse's mouth, you control its whole body. If you don't control the horse's mouth, you'll soon be on a path where you don't want to be. Likewise, a small rudder on a big ship alters the entire course of the ship. Lose control of the rudder and you'll end up in rough water. The tongue has that kind of power. It's a small part of the body but can cause great damage if not controlled.
I'm guessing that most reading this devotional today can recall times when we have had a great morning of reading scripture, journaling our thoughts, and praying...only to get up from our quiet time and say something mean-spirited or destructive to (or about) someone else. In an instant, the wonderful quiet time that we had with God is erased by a careless or wrongly-placed word. Such words are like a small spark of fire than can quickly spread and do damage far and wide. Chances are, we've been on the receiving end of such words before and chances are that we've started the forest fire with words of our own.
May God grant us the grace to tame our tongues today: to praise the Lord instead of cursing human beings created in God's likeness.
If you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year, consider 2 Chronicles 29-31 and James 4 for tomorrow.