James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing, when we bite our tongue

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,[a] for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature,[b] and is itself set on fire by hell.[c] For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,[d] this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,[e] yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

“If we put bits into the the mouth of horses so that they obey us, we guild their whole bodies as well.”

If we put the word of truth into our hearts and speak the Love of Jesus with our tongues.  Then we will have a better chance to control our whole beings.

Its all right there, the power of the tongue and the potential for destruction.  Some things can’t be repaired and our words once spoken can’t be taken back.  Also James compares our tongue to a wild fire (gossip??) and wild animals (uneducated, base desires) and a great ship  and rudder (the comparison of the size and power in comparison to the ease of use)

He is saying our words are our truth because though actions speak louder, words speak truer and cut deeper.

So what are we to do?  Think twice before you teach because with much power (words are power) comes great responsibility.

I was reminded of the serpent and how easy it is to have a slip of the forked tongue…

Imagine the first forked tongue slithering into our thoughts.  Just by the words spoken into Eves afternoon walk, the entire earth and future of all man kind was set ablaze, by the sparks of Hell.

Words were step one to the undoing of all Gods plans.  With only words doubt was birthed, and with doubt, disobedience was enacted.  With disobedience we felt shame, sin, and paved the road to our deaths and separation from out Father God.

The entire emphasizes of this passage is that words are our undoing, there is no hope offer in the potential control of our tongues…..

We all stumble, and we will always stumble.  But don’t lose hope because Christ fills the gap.  So how can we all stay in the fight to tame our tongues?

1 Read the word.  Remember that the word of God is to be the foundation we are to move, live, believe and speak from.  The scriptures don’t change, so we can safely place  our identity in Christ not on what others are saying about us or what we are saying about ourselves.

2  Root your identity in Christ.  If my identity is in Christ I can celebrate others strengths, victories and joys, because my self worth ins’t at stake.  If I feel good about me, then I don’t need to say anything bad about you to keep myself looking or feeling like I’m the best.  It about Christ not me.

3  Get good friends who speak life.  You will become the average of the 5 or 6 people you spend the most time with. So if you surround your self with people that are stronger and more interesting than you, you will be lifted up and edified.  Not weighed down with negative influences.

4 Remember sometimes hard words are helpful.  To hear and to say.  But hard words don’t need to be spoken harshly.  When we root our identity in Christ we make it ok for other to correct us, because our identity isn’t on the line.  And honesty in friendships is the key that unlocks a deep connection.  If you can be venerable anouf to receive correction, or to offer it, you know you have a solid friend.

5 Never hold back a compliment or encouragement.  Why have all this power for giving life and hope, if your not going to speak life giving words.

6  Pray.  Prayer holds the most powerful words we can speak, because we are releasing our burdens, our requests and our praises to the One who has the power in His hands and He longs to bless His children.

Don’t lose hope, we are all in this together.  

This is the message of James…



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