Day 11: James 3:1-6

Today’s verses are some of the most convicting in Scripture.   Even more so if you happen to be a pastor as I am…

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  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.  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.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (TNIV)

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3 thoughts on “Day 11: James 3:1-6

  1. This is one of those passages that the more you sit with it, the more you realize how strongly worded it is. “The tongue is a world of evil…set on fire by hell.” Wow! It’s easy to get defensive about this, and yet it is hard to argue against the way James dramatically highlights the power of words to create or destroy. The power of saying “yes” or “no” in critical moments.
    Our relationships are built or diminished by the conversations we have or don’t have. And we don’t have to look very far to see examples of his illustrations at work in our own world. One decision by an Italian captain to steer a massive cruise ship too close to shore. One command. One shift of the rudder. One massive disaster.
    But it strikes me that James is reminding us that this is such an critical issue because of who we have been created to be. We are made in God’s image. The story of the Bible is of how God brought our world into being by the words He spoke. He said the word, and the world existed. The gospel of John begins with a description of Jesus as “the Word.”
    As those who reflect our Creator and Saviour, our own words also open up a world of possibility. With my words, I can bring about terrible destruction. But my words also have the power to build and encourage and heal. If there is anywhere that Jesus needs to do His redeeming work, it is with our tongues.
    Convicting.

  2. I love what Kevin has written in his entry today. Here are a bunch of Proverbs that speak about the power of the tongue. A good challenge for us today would be to pay attention to our words and see if we are more like rudders and bits that keep things on course, or more like fires that burn and destroy.

    “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18, NLT)

    “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

    A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. (Proverbs 16:28, NLT)

    Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. (Proverbs 18:8, NLT)

    Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow. (Proverbs 25:18, NLT)

    Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. (Proverbs 10:18, NLT)

    Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

    With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous. (Proverbs 11:9, NLT)

  3. Being a pastor is a huge responsibility, based on the early words in this passage. I am thankful that I do not have to do it. Thank you to those who have taken it on.

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