Bridles and Fences

James 1:26 says that if anyone doesn’t bridle their tongue, their religion is worthless.

So do you bridle your tongue? Or do you fence it? Or does it roam free?

There are two reasons to build a fence. One is to keep things in; the other is to keep things out. When we’re talking about horses, fences keep them in the pasture and out of the dangers of the wild. So if James had written to “fence your tongue,” we’d be good if we just never said anything bad - if we kept ourselves from gossip, malice, deceit, and all unrighteousness (Romans 1:29). But he didn’t. He wrote that we must bridle our tongues.

When you bridle a horse, it’s not to keep it out of the bad places. It’s so that you can control and direct it to the good ones. So we must control and direct our tongues to the gospel. We must read scripture, exhort, teach (1 Timothy 4:13) - we must preach Christ glorified. If we aren’t active in that endeavor, our tongues aren’t bridled. They might be fenced, but that’s not enough.