The New Testament places great emphasis on the discipline of our bodily members-especially of the ear, the eye and the tongue. In Romans 8:13, Paul says that we cannot enjoy spiritual life if we do not mortify the deeds of the body through the power of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, he tells us how severely he disciplined his own body. No matter what experience of sanctification we may have had, we still need to discipline our bodily members, as Paul did, till the end of our lives, if we are to be holy.
We must be disciplined about the kind of conversation we give our ears to. We cannot afford to spend our time listening to gossip and slander and then expect our ears to be attuned to hear God's Voice.
Our eyes need to be disciplined in what they are permitted to look at and read - especially in these days. More than one missionary and servant of God has fallen into immorality because he did not habitually control his eyes. How many more are perpetually falling in their thought-life, because of indiscipline in this area. "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity," should be our constant prayer (Psa. 119:37).
Our tongues too need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps there is no greater spreader of spiritual death in the Christian Church than the human tongue. When Isaiah saw God's Holiness, he was convicted chiefly of the way he had been using his tongue. Apparently he had not realised this until he saw himself in God's light.
Jeremiah was told by the Lord that he could be God's mouthpiece only if he was careful about the way he used his tongue - if he separated the valueless from the precious in hisconversation (Jer. 15:19).
These prophets could not afford to be careless about the way they used their tongues, or they would have forfeited the privilege of being God's spokesmen. They could not indulge in loose conversation, idle chatter, gossip, slander and criticism and get away with it. They would have lost their calling thereby. This could be one reason why we have hardly any prophets in our day.
If God has ever put His Word on our lips, then a solemn obligation is upon us to guard these lips for His service alone. We cannot offer a member of our bodies for His use one day and the next day take it back for use at our own discretion. Whatever is once presented to Him is eternally His.
As in the physiology of the body, a doctor can often assess our state of health by looking at our tongues, so too in the spiritual realm, James tells us that the way a man uses his tongue is a test of his spirituality (Jas. 1:26). He makes bold to say that if a man can control his tongue he is a perfect man(Jas. 3:2).