Focal Passage: James 3:1-12
Have you ever gotten a paper cut? Or a tiny splinter of wood in your finger? Even the smallest speck of dust in your eye can cause a great amount of irritation and pain. Isn’t it peculiar how the smallest of causes can have the biggest effects? We wouldn’t think that something as small as our tongues could have detrimental effects, but God says otherwise.
James teaches us that mature believers in Christ are those who have learned to tame their tongue.
Like a small fire that can burn a whole forest, James says, so our tongues have the power to destroy. For those of us God calls to be teachers, taming the tongue comes with a warning that is even more stern.
Those who teach God’s Word will be held accountable for what they teach and are expected to teach truth.
While not all of us will be teachers, learning to control our speech is evidence of the Spirit’s transforming work in our hearts. We know our words can have an impact on those around us – whether positive or negative. Believers are to be careful in both our choice of words and their delivery because of the harm they could cause to others. James also highlights the contradiction of using our mouths for both praises and curses. The idea of praising God yet tearing down someone made in His image should be ridiculous to us. That would be like drawing fresh water from the ocean – impossible!
Evidence of growing in Christlikeness is to be able to control our speech. We are to be those who are gracious in our words toward others and sound in our teaching, using our tongues as instruments of praise. Taming our tongue looks like refraining from gossip and from foul language. It also looks like gracious speech toward others that encourages and builds up. The author of the text makes it clear that controlling what we say is no easy task. However, we have a God who is willing to help us. Ask Him for help today!