Don't you just hate it?
It's not the first potato chip--it's the twentieth, or the fiftieth.
It's not the kind comfort we speak, it's that tidbit, that little salty taste of gossip.
We love them. At first.
Later, not so much.
How in the world do I keep my mouth from getting me in trouble?
James didn't hold out much hope--
...no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.--James 3:8
Restless evil. No kidding.
Whether I'm putting something in my mouth or letting something out of it, I'm in danger.
But a girl's gotta eat, doesn't she? And talk? It's not like I can just sew my mouth shut to keep from sinning in overindulgence or indiscretion. Somehow, I have to figure out how to tame the untamable.
How in the world am I supposed to do that?
Paul has some advice along those lines:
Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial--1 Corinthians 10:23a
So what I do with my mouth has to benefit everyone involved.
Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive--1 Corinthians 10:23b
What I do with my mouth has to help build up someone or something.
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.--1 Corinthians 10:24
I am not the focus of what goes into or comes out of my mouth. Other people are.
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the Glory of God.--1 Corinthians 10:31
God is paying attention. Is He glorified by this? Really?
OK, what does that look like with arms and legs?
Admit when I've done something wrong.
Remember that lust is a sin. If I have to eat it or say it right now or I'll explode, I'd better shut my mouth instead.
Listen to my inner voice--
If I feel even a little guilty afterward, I shouldn't have done it.
If I eat when I'm not hungry, I shouldn't have.
If I say something about somebody else that I wouldn't have said to their face, I shouldn't have.
If I say something that elevates me above my companions or puts me down among them, I shouldn't have. It's not about me.
OK. I did it. Of course. What then?
Repent. Out loud.
What does that sound like? How about, "I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry." in front of everyone who heard you say it.
Or "I ate (or drank) too much again. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." in front of your dinner guests or your family.
Somehow, I have to make what I did wrong real. Because it doesn't seem to be now. Not real enough to stop.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons, too.--1 Corinthians 10:21
I don't get it both ways. I don't get to excuse my behavior. I don't get to downplay or rationalize it.
This is self-control at it's best. It's not like giving up smoking or gambling.
We have to eat and talk. We can't completely give them up. We just have to do them the way we were intended to.
And there's a reward for this:
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ.--2 Peter 1:8
And that's what we wanted all along.