Today we will be in James 3. The first part of the chapter is about controlling the tongue. Yea we have to go there. I feel this is hard one for most people. This world likes to gossip. It’s all around us. It tends to pull us in sometimes. Anger is another part. Interruptions are not always fun. I pray that as we dig into this chapter Gods words take root in your soul. Let’s dive in!
James 3:1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness. -many people wanted to become teachers, it was the cool thing to do. But Jesus warned them its a great responsibility. Their words and actions reflect other people’s spiritual lives.
Vs 2-3 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. -what you say and what you don’t say are both important. Examples of untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. Before you say anything, ask your self if it’s necessary, true and kind.
Vs 4-6 And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself. -James is comparing the damage a tongue can do to a raging fire. The tongue can cause so much damage. Even a couple words from it. We can apologize later but the scars remain.
Vs 7-8 people can tame all kinds of animals and birds, and reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. -these verses are kind of confusing when you first look at them. I mean he’s telling us we can’t tame our tongue so why even try? The Holy Spirit will help us to learn self-control. We may not have perfect control but we can strive to do better every day with the Holy Spirits help. If hurtful words are said to us the Spirit will remind us of Gods love then we won’t react in a hateful way.
Vs 9-12 sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool. -sometimes our words are right, other times not so much. Examine your life and see which way they mostly go. The tongue gives us a picture of our basic sinful nature. God changes us from the inside out. His Holy Spirit purifies a heart.
Digging a little deeper…. In 2 Timothy 2:24 it says we are to never quarrel. Be kind to others. Have patience. Treat them respectfully and avoid debates (this is a bit touchy with the world right now). Doing it this way will make them willing to listen more. The first step (Hebrews 5:12) is distinguishing good from evil, then you will have the tools to help others.
Admit that we all need help from others. I’m not sure why this is so hard. At least it is for me. The past 2 years I can say I’m doing better at it. Galatians 6:1 tells us if we someone else falling short we are to help them back without falling into the sin with them.
And just pray and love that friend that has fallen. We (Christians) need to set good examples to others. We must be careful though too for there are false teachers.
Our hearts determine what we say. Our heart seems to be the important thing in this spiritual life. Just like an apple tree. If it’s taken care of and pruned it will bear good fruit. But if it’s neglected it will with have bad fruit or no fruit. We need the new heart, the Holy Spirit. Read Gods word and keep talking to Him. Find others that are full of spiritual wisdom and press into them. You will feel new and changed.