“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” – Romans 7:15
“With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way.” – James 3:9
Have you ever struggled to say the right thing? Or have you ever regretted saying something you shouldn’t have said?
You are in good company…with the rest of the human race.
In Chapter 3, James devotes a lot of attention to the power (and potential destructiveness) of the tongue. He compares it to the rudder of a ship. It has the power to shift our direction! Just as a forest fire begins with the tiniest of sparks, the tongue, be it small, is like fire. Sometimes we need to pause to take an inventory of how we’re using this powerful thing we’ve been given.
Am I setting relationships or friendships on fire? Am I using my words to demean people who were created in the image of our God? Am I saying and doing the very things I don’t want to say and do? Are blessing and cursing coming out of the same mouth?
The bad news is this: no matter how hard we try to tame the tongue and say the right thing, if we are trying apart from the power of the Spirit, we will fail. Over and over again. We’ll set relationship after relationship on fire. We’ll steer our ships aground.
But the good – no, the great and wonderful and beautiful – news is this: as followers of Jesus, we are no longer enslaved by our sinful tendencies to destroy people with our words. We are humans, and we will say things we regret this side of heaven. Grace covers this, but our speech should be markedly different than that of the world!
“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5
Want to tame the tongue? Be filled with the Spirit. Know who you are. If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are a son or daughter of the King, and He has redeemed your heart and everything that flows from it, including the words that flow from your mouth.
Father, may we be people whose hearts and the words that flow from them praise you. May we be marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as we walk by the power of your Spirit. Thank you, Father, that we are no longer enslaved to our brokenness and sin, but that we have been adopted into your family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
See you Sunday!