Nov 7 — James 3

James 3 — Taming the Tongue, Wisdom From Above

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One Reply to “Nov 7 — James 3”

  1. At the church service we attended last night, the pastor referred to the beginning of our text today, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). Perhaps it’s just me, but I try to pay attention when I hear scripture preached then see it again the next day! James continues to explain that we are all prone to stumble as we go through life, primarily because of our tongues, that is, what we say.

    So many times we speak before thinking because we believe this is how we impress other people. Many times I’ve been in situations where someone asks me a question with an expectation that I would deliver the answer immediately. After all, that what pastors or teachers are supposed to do, right? I recall several times feeling the eyes on me while I pondered (and prayed) for the right answer, not because I was confused, but because of James’ warning here, “the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body…it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:6 & 8). While it might be impressive to spout off quick replies in 15-second sound bites, I don’t think it’s necessary. Our culture’s addiction to the news media has fanned this flame. Imagine if a reporter sets up an interview and asks a poignant question, the kind of question designed to illicit a response in the reporter’s favor. Instead of answering right away, the respondent stops and thinks about the question for just 10 seconds before providing an answer. (Try that yourself, 10 seconds seems like an eternity in a conversation.) The respondent would be blasted as an idiot for taking “so long” to respond that the response itself would no longer be of any concern. Lord help me to be patient, not restless, and help me to control my tongue to only honor you with my words. May it never be said of me, “out of the same mount come praise and cursing” (3:10).

    The topic of last night’s service concerned spiritual warfare. Though verse 3:15 was not referenced, I’m once again confronted with hearing a sermon and reading scripture from the same context. All that to say, I need to pay attention. “Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (3:15). This “wisdom” is opposite of humility, those who talk a good talk, but have no good deeds to show. This is demonstrated as “bitter envy and selfish ambition” and denying the truth (3:14). Lord help me to be a peacemaker, one who would “sow in peace [to] reap a harvest of righteousness” (3:18).

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