We all hear people say nasty and corrupt things. They say kind things as well. How is it that the same people give great compliments, yet are so offensive as well? It doesn’t take much, according to this passage in James, to corrupt a person. While looking at James 3, we see that animals, our tongue or ships, are all steered by such small items. In order to start a fire that covers a whole forest or land, only a tiny spark can start so much damage. As humans who have a strong sin nature, we can’t rely on ourselves to tame our tongue. The power of the tongue is amazing! We must rely on God to help us say only what glorifies Him and edifies other people as well.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.James 3:1-12
Set An Amazing Example
This passage is very clear. A person who is looked upon as an authority figure, is expected to set a good example. People, including students, friends, church family, citizens are among these who expect that people in a position of authority will speak good, kind, truthful words. When I listen on the news and hear someone in our government lie, I lose respect for them. I expect that they will set an amazing example, but in recent times, they don’t.
The Power Of The Same Tongue
Many of us know people who act one way in a specific moral environment, then they go hang out with friends, co-workers and people around their age and they act completely opposite of how they normally are seen. James speaks of this in James 3:9-11. “How can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” That is a good question. It can’t!
Producing A Different Result
Verse 12 asks if one tree can bear a different type of fruit. “Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?” We can’t produce what we are not! Don’t live as if you are not a Believer, yet you claim to be one! We claim that we want God to be pleased with us, but we don’t do what pleases Him. God gives us the ability and tells us how to live, which includes how to speak. It is our decision to make, whether we follow Him and His Word. Ephesians 5:4 tells us what to avoid when it comes to our speech as Believers.
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.Ephesians 5:4
An Amazing Reminder
This passage convicted me a lot today. I find myself not thinking about what I say, too often. Before I open my mouth, I need to think about whether what I will say is edifying, truthful, good, righteous and decent. Here is another great verse that reminds me to guard my mouth.
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;Psalm 141:3
keep watch over the door of my lips.
More To Read
- Practical And Actable: Faith In Action