The students will be able to cite a number of reasons why the tongue is important in serving God, knowing that it is the outlet of the heart.
In Scripture, the word tongue has a number of meanings. They are:
1. An organ of the body, used by Gideon’s men in drinking water (Judges 7:5), and also by Jesus when He “touched his tongue” in healing the one with an impediment of speech (Mark 7:32-33).
2. An organ of speech of the one healed by Jesus (Mark 7:35), and praise (Psalm 35:28).
3. A language or dialect (Genesis 10:5; 11:7).
The figurative uses of the word are interesting. The tongue can be sharpened; i.e., made to utter caustic words (Psalms 64:3; 140:3). It is a sharp sword (Psalm 57:4). The tongue of the just is a treasure (Proverbs 10:20), of the wise—health (Proverbs 12:18), and a mark of wisdom (Isaiah 50:4). It is also a shrewd antagonist (Psalm 52:2).
The importance of having a heart right with God is also stressed in this lesson on the tongue. James explains the spiritual danger of not controlling the words that proceed from the mouth. It has been said: “There is nothing in all the world so good or so bad as the tongue. It can bless or curse, bring joy or wring the heart with sorrow; it can bring peace or war; it can lead to virtue or seduce to vice; it can speak the truth or utter lies; it can be harsh or mild, rough or smooth, refined or vulgar, pure or impure. It is with the tongue we bless God or curse man.” (S. L. Flowers: The Serpent’s Fang)
Bring a can of anything (fruit, olives, etc.) or a bottle of hand lotion, perfume, etc. Show to your class. Ask them what they think is inside the can or bottle. Discuss the similarities of the labeled can or bottle to human beings. We, as people, in word (tongue) and action label ourselves, or reveal to others what kind of person we are.
Take an empty container to class and have the students fill it with items (beans, blocks, toys, wood, etc.). After the container if filled, ask students to take something out that is not in the box. (Only what is put in can come out.)
Take a calculator to class. Put an easy problem into it. Ask why you received that answer. This should again illustrate that what we put in (the numbers put into the calculator) determines what comes out (the numerical total).
Make a pocket heart. Label paper strips with phrases, deeds, etc., that would accompany any unregenerated heart (examples: lying, swearing, saying God’s name in vain, cheating, or being selfish, rude, boastful, conceited). Place inside heart. Have each student pull out one labeled strip. Discuss how the tongue projects our heart’s evil.
Make another pocket heart. Label paper strips with phrases, deeds, etc., that a saved person would demonstrate (examples: kindness, love, unselfishness, clean words, sharing, preferring others, thankfulness, happiness). Place inside heart. Each students pulls out one labeled strip. Discuss the changes God makes in a heart when He makes all things new. See 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Bring or draw a picture of a bee with a prominent stinger. Talk about the poison in the stinger and that people who are allergic can even die of bee stings if they don’t receive an antidote. And even if they are not allergic, it hurts! Then go to James 3:8. Close with Proverbs 16:24, bringing out that the tongue can make honey or sweet words good for our own spiritual health and that of others.
Bring a bridle and bit. Tape Scriptures on it to illustrate students’ use of Scripture to bridle the tongue and keep their progress toward Heaven: Job 6:25; Psalm 34:13; Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 21:23; Proverbs 25:11; Titus 3:2; James 1:26; 1 Peter 3:10.