Welcome Back to Journaling Through James, Week 3
This week’s passage was considerably shorter than our first two weeks. However, what it may have lacked in length, it made up for in depth! In Chapter 3, we see James return to a theme he’s alluded to in each of our previous weeks—the dangers of the tongue! Here are a few of my favorite highlights:
- James open Ch 3 with a warning that teachers will be judged with a greater strictness (and for that reason, not many of them should aspire to teach).
- He also notes that it is common, even for himself, to stumble in many ways, but that if a person is able to keep a reign on his words, then he is able to control his entire body. He uses several analogies (a bit/horse, a rudder/ship, a spark/a forest fire, etc.) to illustrate this point.
- James also suggests that while man has managed to tame every beast on the face of the earth, mastery of the tongue remains illusive . His words, “The tongue is untamable by man” seem to imply that we must, therefore rely on a greater power—that of the Holy Spirit—to keep our tongues in check.
- James warns that the tongue is a restless evil, full of poison. Don’t believe for one second that the sins of the tongue are innocent like society would have you believe. “White lies” are still sin. Gossip may drip off the tongue like honey and enter the ears like sweet music, but it is still sin. Like poison, sins of the tongue, are often unassuming and can sometimes go down smooth and undetected, but in reality, they are deadly, life-sucking, and sometimes cause irreparable damage.
- James goes on to point out the hypocrisy of using our tongues both to bless/praise our Lord and Father and to curse people, who we know from Genesis 1:27, were created by God in His own image!
- In the same way that a single spring can’t contain both fresh and salt water, so genuine blessing can not flow from lips that are salty with unkind words, lies, gossip, criticism, profanity, bragging, hateful speech, and the like.
- James further elaborates on this point in verses 13-17, explaining the the wise will be marked by showing his works through meek wisdom—in other words, in quiet/gentleness, not by spewing “knowledge” to prove himself wise. (This reminds me so much of the way in which Jesus taught—it was the reason people were drawn to His quiet compassion and is gentle teaching style. He seldom sought an audience, yet they flocked to him.
- True wisdom cannot reside in the mind of one whose heart is filled with bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere. Run your future Facebook comments through THAT filter!
- A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who MAKE (not keep) peace.
Such rich, relatable truths! Were you convicted this week? What did you the Lord show you in your study?
Blessings on you this week,