• James Chapter 3:
  • Verse 3: -6  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 body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

◦     Do these verses express the dangers of the tongue strongly enough!  Whew! 

▪     Bit for a horse:  I saw a video of a horse running away with a carriage behind it. It was chaos!  People were hurt (could have been killed), the animal ended up hurt. It was horrible to watch, but oh how horrible it was for those caught up in the path of horse and for the horse itself.  And it all could have been stopped if some had got a hold of the bit that controlled the tongue.  The tongue is more dangerous than a run-away horse.

▪     A rudder on a ship: Few ever see the rudder of a ship. But in a storm, it is a powerful thing. It steers the ship to safety if used correctly.  If used incorrectly, it can cause the ship to overturn.  The tongue is more dangerous than a ship in a storm.

▪     A spark:  Have you seen images of a forest fire?  It is horrific. Animals die, houses burn, people die.  One little word from the tongue can be more dangerous than a spark in a dry forest!

  • Fire is a great thing if under control, it warms the body, it cooks our food, and it is used for power, for purging and cleaning.  So the tongue can be used for good, but only when under control.

◦     The tongue corrupts the whole body!  The whole course of one’s life!  Hell and Satan love the tongues of men!

  • All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

◦     Think of all the animals that have been tamed by man.  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  J  Really, though, horses are big!  Lions are scary! Birds can fly away, and yet, man figured out a way to catch and control them. The ocean is huge!  And yet, men figured out a way to catch sharks!  Ugh!  Crocodiles! Snakes! Whatever animal is out there, man has rule over him. God set it up that way.  So we are pretty crafty in figuring out things.  And yet, we have not figured out how to control the tongue!  Crazy!  Crazy, yes, but oh so serious. 

▪     We must put great effort into controlling our tongue for us to just be a bit better than we are now.  It takes work, prayer, self-control and practice.  Shall we try?

◦     Here is a poem by an unknown author:

  • A careless word may kindle strife;
  • A cruel word may wreck a life.
  • A bitter word may hate instill;
  • A brutal word may smite and kill.
  • A gracious word may smooth the way;
  • A joyous word may light the day.
  • A timely word may lessen stress;
  • A loving word may heal and bless.

◦     We need to choose our words wisely.  Not just let them flow with no thought!

  • 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.

◦     I have, and have known others who have, sang praises and worshiped God sincerely on Sunday with my tongue, and then sometime during the week have talked like a demon.  Another name for it…. Hypocrite. So sad to admit I have been one.  Have you?

◦     But I don’t want to be one!  When we speak evil, it is not of God.  When we speak blessings (true ones, not fake ones for flattery’s sake) we are not speaking from evil.

◦     Our wishy washy tongues can easily turn people away from the Gospel  Why should they listen to us tell about Grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, praise, worship, honor, glory and obedience one minute and hear us tear someone up verbally the next? 

  • verses 13-16  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

◦     Wisdom and understanding. If we have it, it will be shown by our lives. By what we do, and how we do things. Our works (deeds) will be done in humility….. because if we have wisdom, we will have humility.

▪     Psalms 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; sound understanding belongs to those who practice it. Praise of God endures forever.

▪     Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

  • Fear of the Lord equals wisdom. And how can you be proud and not humble if you have fear of the Lord?

◦     So basically we are being told, if you have wisdom and knowledge and you use it wisely and humbly, that is from God. But if we are bitter, envious or selfish, we do not have Godly wisdom, but demonic wisdom!!!!

▪     Oh man, I do not want anything demonic! I don’t want it near me, in me, coming from me or anything! 

◦     We need to examine our life for these things (envy, selfish ambition, bitterness).

▪     It says if you have it don’t boast about it!  Don’t tell everyone you are envious, bitter or about your selfish ambitions. 

▪     But it also says to not deny the truth.  We need to examine ourselves and admit to God and ourselves that we have them.  Repent, and turn from them!  And then maybe mark your calendar to check again in a few days, because they might sneak back!  I want nothing to do with demonic works… so when I say put a reminder in your calendar, I am not teasing. 

  • We will write “To Do” list for everything, or we will put reminders of all kinds of things in our calendars so we won’t forget, because they are important.  What is more important than your spiritual walk if you are a child of God?
  • 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

◦     Let us make sure our wisdom and understanding is of God!  Seek it from Him, and tremble with the knowledge that He will give it to you and that we are to use that wisdom and knowledge in such things as teaching, telling the Gospel, loving others…

◦     God is gracious. He does not just say be wise, but He shows us what it is!

▪     Pure = Genuine; real; true; incorrupt; unadulterated

▪      Peace-loving =  One who loves: a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.

▪     Considerate (gentle) = Mild; meek; soft; bland; not rough, harsh or severe; as a gentle nature, temper or disposition; a gentle manner; a gentle address; a gentle voice.

▪     Submissive = Humble; acknowledging one’s inferiority; testifying one’s submission.

▪     Full of mercy =  FULL of  benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

▪     Full of good fruit = Effect or consequence. They shall eat the fruit of their doings.

  • Isa 3.7. Advantage; profit; good derived.

▪     Impartial         = Not favoring one party more than another; equitable; just; as an impartial judgment or decision; an impartial opinion.

  • Sincere = Being in reality what it appears to be; not feigned; not simulated; not assumed or said for the sake of appearance; real; not hypocritical or pretended. This is the present use of the word. Let your intentions be pure and your declarations sincere. Let love and friendship be sincere. No prayer can avail with a heart-searching God, unless it is sincere.

▪     Peacemaker = Plant peace! Another version (ASL) puts it this way: And a harvest of righteousness is grown from the seed of peace planted by peacemakers.

◦     We could have just skimmed over those words. But we need to KNOW them, PRAY over them, APPLY them to our lives and PRACTICE them! 

▪     My goal, is to try to memorize these words and know their meaning and use them daily.  I think that might be wisdom?  I am pretty sure it is wise!  Will you join me?