Faith Controls the Tongue
Verse 1 – My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive stricter judgment.
Those who teach are held to a much higher standard. If they haven’t had proper training, they might teach in error. Teaching in error of the Scriptures can affect someone’s spiritual growth.
Verse 2 – For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.
Verse 3 – Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
Verse 4 – Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
Verse 5 – Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
Verse 6 – And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell.
Once a wildfire starts, it’s hard to contain. Verse 6 says the tongue can defile the whole body and has its source from hell. Once words are spoken, you can’t take them back. Harsh words spoken, can divide people and cause major destruction. We all have a choice how we speak to others. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
Verse 7 – For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
Verse 8 – But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Verse 9 – With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
Even though no one is always kind in their speech, that doesn’t mean we don’t try. It’s better to fight a little fire than to go around setting them.
Look carefully what James says about blessings and cursing with the same tongue. Whatever is in the heart will come out of the mouth.
Verse 10 – Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be so.
Verse 11 – Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
Our words can change the atmosphere in any situation we are in. Words have power either to destroy or bless! That’s why when we speak about a certain situation, we speak faith toward the end result. Or when comforting someone, we speak encouragement and love. Our words need to live up with what God says, goodness, forgiveness, and mercy towards others.
Verse 12 – Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.
When the Holy Spirit changes a heart, He gives us self-control. We will start to speak words that are pleasing to God.
Verse 13 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
Verse 14 – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, also not boast and lie against the truth.
True wisdom can be measured by the depth of a person’s character. James is still talking about those who desire to become teachers. Envy and selfish ambition are far from being a minor flaw in someone’s character. Sometimes its evident but sometimes it’s hidden. Eventually it will come out of mouth and through their actions.
Verse 15 – This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
James is referring to envy and selfish ambition.
Verse 16 – For where envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and envy evil things will be there.
Verse 17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Verse 18 – Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I know a lot of people who call themselves Christians, but need to ask themselves, “Do I cause discord and strife, or do I bring peace when I come?