We spend a lot of time and effort to make sure our physical bodies are healthy. We are taught to know our bodies and to be self aware when it comes to what our symptoms are telling us.
Our words can tell us a lot about our spiritual health: whether we are dead or thriving. And we should routinely self check our words to see how our heart is doing.
Words. We speak an abundance of them every day. James warns us that our tongue, left unchecked, has potential for great harm.
The tongue is the only thing that cannot fully be tamed. It is full of restless evil and deadly poison. It is a forest fire that leaves destruction in its path. Destruction that cannot easily be restored.
A hostile tongue has several companions that will also rear their ugly heads: (James 3:14)
- bitter jealousy,
- selfish ambition,
- and every vile practice.
James gives us his take:
If you think you are religious…
you claim it… by your words…
but you do not bridle your tongue…
you flatter some…you curse others…you blurt venom and hurt those made in God’s image…
You are self deceived…
you believe one thing about yourself, but are dead wrong
Your religion is worthless.
We speak a lot. We like to be heard. And we usually think we have the right to be heard. After all, what I have to say is important. And yet God tells us that the truly wise person should show his wisdom:
- not by his words
- but by his good conduct, his works,
- the works done in meekness of wisdom.
The opposite of a brash, offensive, proud “double speak” tongue is
And the way to get this type of tongue– and heart–is to submit yourself to God. (James 4:7)
You ask, how does an unruly tongue show that I am not submissive to God?
- Because it is a law breaker. God’s laws–namely the second great commandment and the golden rule. It believes it can “say” and get away with it.
- It shows that you are unhappy where God has put you, so you fight for your own advancement or for justice.
- You have this desire for something more:more control, more respect, more appreciation or understanding, and you fight and brawl to get it.
Our desires—->become our demands——> become our life dominating sins.
So God tells us that our desires must be held loosely realizing that HE IS IN CONTROL and will give us what we need.
The only way to live a victorious life and to get His grace is listed in James 4:6
- Humble yourself. (Verses the proud position you were in. Not sure if you are proud? See this excellent resource.)
- Submit yourself to God.
- Resist the devil.
- Draw near to God.
- Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts.
It staggers my mind how quickly I can go from humble before God, to proud and demanding. Christianity is about daily death to self, so that you can live unto God. Each day, when you wake, thank God that He is in control of your already crucified flesh and then check to see that your old man is laying in that casket.
Do you need to put your old man back into the casket? Do a self check on your tongue–your words.