A couple weeks ago, we looked at James chapter two and found a few important things James wanted us to know. This week I want to take a look at the third chapter. James writes quite a bit about taming the tongue and how deadly the tongue is, but he doesn’t write much other than that so this week I wanted to pull a few things from what James talks about on taming the tongue and share my thoughts with you.
The Tongue Is Small, Yet Extremely Powerful
“The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5 ESV)
One of the first points James makes is that though the tongue is a small member, it has great power and can do serious damage and major destruction.
We must understand the power of our tongues and the damage it can do if we are not careful. We must also know that we can really encourage and build others up with the use of our tongues.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)
This verse from Ephesians comes to my mind when I read that passage from James on taming the tongue. Ephesians 4:9 commands us to not let any corrupting talk come from our mouths. We must only speak to build others up and encourage those who listen. This is an important thing for us to remember, that we can use our words to encourage and build others up, we can use our tongues for many great things. So let us do that rather than speaking of useless and corrupted things.
Our Tongue is a Fire “A World of Unrighteousness”
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:6 ESV)
Again James points to the tongue being like a fire, spreading mass destruction. In these verses he says it is a world of unrighteousness. He makes the point that the tongue is just one of many members, yet if the tongue is corrupted than the entire body is too.
Wisdom From Above
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18 ESV)
This wisdom is pure, gentle, peaceable, full of mercy, impartial, and sincere. James says here that a harvest of righteousness is sown by peace. It starts with peace, if we want to be obedient to God, we must begin by being at peace with everyone. That is where we begin.
James shares more about this in the next chapter, and Lord willing we will look at that next week.
I hope all of you have a great week and an enjoyable time with your family this Thanksgiving.
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