James 3:1-12 -TAMING THE TONGUE – 5-15-19 Devotional

James 3:1-12 -TAMING THE TONGUE – 5-15-19 Devotional

James 3:1-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 3:7     5-15-19

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,” (ESV)

Dear Lord heavenly Father, thank you for always teaching us about priorities and teaching us what is right and wrong. Your word is a lamp unto our paths. The ultimate priority is to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. (Matt 6:33). Another is to do all things for your glory alone. Guide my feet along life’s path, all the way to the kingdom of God. Grant me insight into this passage. I thank you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: The Tongue Is An Indicator Of What Is Going On In Our Lives (1-6)

Verses 1-6, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (ESV)

James tells us in verse 1 that not many should become teachers. Is it because not many people knew the Gospel? Is it because they were unable to teach others what they have personally discovered about Jesus and his word? No. All Christians know something about the Gospel and about their life experience with their Lord Jesus. They can teach what they know. They can guide people though the Scripture. Then why is it that not many should become teachers?

According to James people stumble in many ways. There is a list as long as your arm. But the greatest problem is the problem with the tongue. Many Christians cannot control their tongues and as a result they disqualify themselves from being teachers. Why is this?

Though James is talking about our tongues, he is referencing our daily lives. Controlling your tongue is a reflector, or indicator, of how a person is able to control their lives. James says that the tongue is like a bit used to control a horse or like a rudder of a ship. A person who can control his tongue can control himself in every other way. If a person can not control their tongue then their lives are like a ship that is drifting off course.

If a person thinks he is called to be a teacher within the church, then his life must glorify Jesus. His life must be congruent with the Gospel. Their words and their deeds must be in line with the teachings of the Bible. A person cannot be a teacher and at the same time live as a hypocrite. A person may be very skilled in hiding hypocrisy in their lives. They can appear holy. But there is one thing that they cannot hide, they cannot hide their words and the messages that are spoken through their tongues. If we are double-minded, our words will reveal it. If we praise God and curse people made in God’s image, our double-mindedness is exposed.

The tongue is more than just an indicator. It is also an instrument that can hurt others or bless others. The tongue is small but it can start a great fire. A person can destroy his own life and the lives of others by saying hurtful or unnecessary things. What we deliberately teach others has great influence; what we say casually without much thought sometimes has even more influence. By our words we can plant doubt and cause someone to give up in despair; or we can plant faith and hope and courage.

Part 2: No Person Can Tame The Tongue And So Come To God (7-12)

Verses 7-12, “7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (ESV)

God’s sets a very high standard for Christians in this passage. The reality is, no one has such control over themselves. Even godly individuals will lose control over their tongues on certain occasions. That may put a great burden on anyone who has stepped up to be a teacher of the God’s word because James teaches that we who teach are judged more strictly.

Does that mean that we give up our on our mission in teaching about the word of God? By no means. It does mean that we must be very humble and confess our inadequacy and ask God’s help to control our tongues and ask for grace for God to guide our lives so that we can live as teachers of the Gospel. If it is God’s will that we be a Bible teacher, then he will help us. He will equip us. In our weakness he will grant us his strength so that we can bring glory to God.

We cannot tame our tongues on our own, but God can change our hearts. It is true, that…“Out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 15:18). We tend to take this in a negative sense, to prove the fact that we are guilty before the Lord because of the words of our mouths. But it is also true that when God forgives our sins and creates in us a new heart, then out of the regenerated heart the mouth speaks also. God can make our tongues instruments of righteousness. He can also guide our lives on paths of righteousness by the same act of regeneration.

Side note: But on the flip side, if it is not your calling to be an official Bible teacher in the church, then accept it. Accept the fact that that God will still want you to share the Gospel personally in your daily life, but not be an official teacher in the church. That is OK. Your role in sharing the Gospel is just as vital.

Prayer: Lord, change my inner life until my lips are used only to praise you and strengthen others.

One Word: Only God can tame my tongue

Interact with us using Facebook

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.