Today in our lesson, James
affirms the power of our tongues with a warning: be careful little tongue what you say.
Over the last several weeks, we have been looking at this study of James
, which I have titled: Practical Christianity.
And really, that is the thrust of what James teaches.
writes about how we should live out our faith in Christ.
Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we could ever have.
teaches us how to make or how to put God first in our life.
If God is going to be first, we need to learn how to tame our tongues.
In the opening verse of our lesson, James
warns that not everyone should teach.
Those who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
is very practical in his
approach to teaching and in our lesson today James
gives several illustrations about how powerful our tongues can be.
Growing up, a lot of my friends were farmers, some of them had horses so I had the opportunity to ride.
And if you have ever ridden a horse, you know what James is saying when he
writes about bridles.
writes that the tongue controls the direction of our lives.
A word, a phrase can have considerable influence.
suggests, the rudder of a ship.
It directs where we go, and so James
teaches us that as followers of Christ, we need to learn how to control our tongues.
gives another illustration.
writes in verse 6 of our reading, the tongue is a fire.
is saying the same about our tongues.
But we also know, and as James
warns, the tongue can be a restless evil full of deadly poison.
The tongue can tear down and be full of lies and deceit.
It can discourage and wreak havoc.
The tongue can be out of control.
With it, James
writes, we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we also curse those who are made in God's likeness.
You see, as James
has been doing, and as he
encourages throughout his
letter, James wants to encourage us as followers of Christ.
does so because as followers of Christ, we are Christ's ambassadors to the rest of the world.
What comes out of our mouths is a reflection of who we are on the inside.
If Jesus is Lord of our lives it should be reflected in what we say and how we live out our faith.
is asking us to make up our own minds.
Is Jesus Lord or not?
From the same mouth he
writes, blessing and cursing.
It contradicts who we say we are.
So as is James' style - he
illustrates what he
is trying to say.
The warning from James
is not to quiet the tongue.
James urges that we tame the tongue and use it to God's glory.
I'm not here to beat up the church and make it feel bad for not fulfilling it's mission.
And nor do I believe that is the purpose of James
writing this letter.
The Holy Spirit may convict us with these words of James
, but each day is a new opportunity to live by the Grace of God and live out our Faith.
An ancient legend recounts the return of Jesus to glory after his
time on earth.
Even in heaven he
bore the marks of his
earthly pilgrimage with the cross and shame of death.
And Jesus responded, I have asked Peter, James
, John, and a few more friends to tell others about me.
James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 70-71.