What comes out of our mouths helps to direct the actions of our body:
If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. -James 3:2-3, NAB
Beginning with the second half of James 3:2, we are told that our speech has an impact on the rest of our thoughts and actions. If we are able to control the words coming out of our mouths, we can control what the rest of our bodies are doing.
First, let’s define what a bridle is. For those that did not grow up on a farm (like myself), a bridle is the headgear worn by horses that helps the rider to guide the animal. It is the various straps and pieces that connect to the reins.
The bridle, then, is an important part of controlling the rest of the horse, just as our words can be to our faith. Notice that in this verse, however, it simply says that we are “able to bridle” the rest of our bodies. It is not guaranteed. We can speak with the tongues of angels but still act with the bodies of devils.
With this idea in mind, bridled faith begins with our words but must be followed up by our actions. If we can control what we say, we will be more likely to control what we do.
Learn to control your lips and the rest of your body will follow. Your faith may be reflected by what you say but is truly evident by what you do.