Open your bibles with me today to James, Chapter 3 and read the first 12 verses.
Overview: This passage of scripture is entitled “The untamable tongue” in my bible. It gives many similarities of how our tongues controls our lives the same as a large ship in a storm can be turned by a tiny rudder, and a bit in a horse’s mouth will control its entire body. It tells how man had tamed wild animals but can’t seem to tame the tongue. It goes on to say that we can’t bless God out of one side of our mouth and then curse someone (who is made in the image of God) out the other. A spring doesn’t send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening, and a fig tree doesn’t bear olives and a grapevine doesn’t bear figs.
Lessons we learn from today’s scripture:**
- Our words are POWERFUL! Think about it – God “spoke” the world into existence! The devil tempted Adam and Eve and tried to tempt Jesus with “words” (lies, questions, doubts).
- James compares the damage the tongue can do to a raging fire. Once a small fire takes off, it can burn down a forest and be hard to put out.
- Satan uses the tongue to divide people and pit them against one another. Idle and hateful words are damaging because they spread destruction quickly, and no one can stop the results once they are spoken.
- A few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build.
- Off the cuff remarks to children in frustration such as “you’re so stupid”, “You drive me crazy”, “you’re weird” – these can stick with a child to the point it alters their self-worth. They look up to you – they want you to be pleased with them! Speak life over your children!
- Don’t be careless with your words – learn to stop and think before you speak. And if you are angry, it’s probably best not to speak until you have had a chance to calm down and pray about it.
- We may never be able to achieve perfect control over our tongues, but the Holy Spirit was given to us to help us learn self-control. We are not fighting our tongues in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to watch what we say, so that when we are offended, the Spirit will bring to mind God’s love, and we won’t react in a hateful manner. When we are criticized the Spirit will help with healing the hurt, so we don’t lash out in pain. **
- Our contradictory speech can puzzle us. One minute our words are right and pleasing to God, and at other times they are angry and destructive. The more we draw closer to God he starts to change us from the inside out. The Holy Spirit will start a work in our heart to give us self-control, so we speak words pleasing to God. **
- “Teasing” someone can be just as harmful as angry words. I was in the 6th grade, minding my business having fun because we were drawing and creating art. Out of nowhere, my teacher of all people, said to me in front of the entire class “you’re getting a mustache” you’ll be needing to shave here soon. I was humiliated and became self-conscious after that. This reminds me of verse 1 where it says teachers will have a stronger judgement from God (held to a higher standard). My teacher failed that test – he initiated a behavior in other children that should have been squashed and created a hurtful memory that stayed with me for many years.
- As my momma used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say something.”
- When this scripture was written people did a lot more “speaking” than “tweeting”. In today’s day and age, the written word can be just as damaging. So let me add to my momma’s advice for this generation – If you can’t post something nice, don’t post. There are so many innuendos or even out-right dirty laundry on social media that can crush a person’s spirit. Don’t hit “post” in anger. My mom actually did have another applicable saying “Don’t put anything in writing you don’t want the whole world to know.” (I got that piece of advice after the teacher took the love note I was passing in class in the 5th grade and read it out loud.)
- When our speech is motivated by Satan: Bitter envy, Selfish Ambition, Earthly concerns and desires, Unspiritual thoughts and ideas, confusion and evil. **
- When our speech is motivated by God and His wisdom: Mercy, love for others, peace, Consideration for others, submission, sincerity and impartiality and righteousness. **
**taken from the Life Application Study Bible.
Happy Thursday friends! Hang in there – the weekend is almost here!