PAGE BY PAGE THROUGH THE BOOK OF JAMES: CHAPTER 3
The Need for Spiritual Mature Speech
James pens direct words with a simple explanation and examples that illustrate well our condition and our need for spiritual maturity. Yes, these are humbling words that expose our need for Christ and encourage conformity to the nature of Lord Jesus. I just love it. One example he targets is our tongues.
This passage describes the tongue as a powerful muscle that steers who we are. I like that The Message describes the mouth as a possible mud hole. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they talk and the words they use. You can tell how a person will react based on words they have used in the past. Chapter 3 describes words as a fire, restless evil, poison, and salt water.
Surely you have heard the saying do not judge a book by its cover. Similar is the poetic suggestion that the “eyes are the window to the soul” which speaks of the person beneath the exterior body. James in the 3 chapters of his letter wisely writes that it is the tongue which manifests what is in the heart of a person. It is not the eyes. He states our tongues reveal the soul and speaks to the reality of our strength or lack of control. Our tongue speaks to our level of spiritual maturity. Pun intended.
James says that negative speech and positive speech can come from the same fountain. He said this should not be so. It should not be the normal flow of language that both good and bad flow from the same mouth. We should not curse God and bless Him with the same mouth. We should not build up others and tear them down with the same tongue. Yet we do and it is a sin.
This passage from James shares with us that you and I are not stuck in our sinful nature that we all have. All of us deal with the sinful nature because we are human beings. All people deal with temptations and desires and sin. Our world is sinful and yet we do not have to be tied to this world. Many times we see characteristics and actions in the people around us and we conclude because everyone acts that way, talks that way, or spends their money that way that we must have to be that way too. We do not have to be bitter or angry or selfish or full of lies or unspiritual or envious or chaotic… even though the world tells us that being that way is ‘normal.’ We who are believers in Jesus Christ, we are not trapped by our sinful nature. We don’t have to be like the world says we have to be, but we are free in Christ to pursue Him. We can pursue God. Free to pursue God becomes our new ‘normal.’
What are we free to do? Who are we free to be?
Bearing Good Fruit