A bridle is the harness that is put on a horse’s head and in his mouth to control him and to make him obey. It consists of head straps, reins, and most importantly, a mouth bit. While using a bridle, this majestic and exceptionally strong animal can be restrained and appropriately guided.
Angels, who are also stronger than we, “bridle,” or put restraints on their tongues (Heb.2:7,9; 2 Pet.2:11). In other words, they check and control whatever they say even in the heat of the moment. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9).
Jesus, who became like us (John 1:14; Phil.2:7; Heb.2:17), never sinned with his mouth (2 Cor.5:21; Heb.4:15; 1 John 3:5). He knew how to bridle his tongue even in the most adverse situations. “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet.2:22-23).
Controlling the tongue is the common thread in these examples of how the faithful properly conducted themselves. For us, it is impossible to “bring our bodies under subjection” to God’s will (1 Cor.9:27) without also “bridling” our tongues (Jas.3:1-12). No Christian should gossip, take God’s name in vain, lie, slander, name call, tell foul jokes, or speak ugly in any way (Eph.4:29; Col.4:6). “If any man among you seem to religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (Jas.1:26).