Our study of the Epistle of James takes us to the third chapter where the apostle warns his audience against too many people becoming teachers and the untamable destructive power of the human tongue. In this chapter James also writes about earthly and heavenly wisdom.
“1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:1-2)
In these verses ‘perfect’ means mature. Able to control his body as well as his tongue, chosen teachers of the law of God, the law of love are gifted with the ability to handle the great responsibilities that come with teaching the word of God. Blessed with spiritual maturity true teachers do not stumble in word as they lead seekers to the truth.
“3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:3-8)
Repeatedly mentioned throughout the bible, the untamable human tongue in these verses is compared to deadly poison, to a spark at the root of great destruction through fire. James writes about the fact wild and dangerous animals can be tamed but no man can tame the tongue. No one can stop the evil that is spoken through human lips other than the Holy Spirit.
“9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:9-12)
James points out the obvious, that people who curse against men created by God in the image of God, are not of God.
“13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:13-16)
James writes about earthly wisdom stemming from evil, the same wisdom that reigns among our world today. Earthly wisdom is bitter, self seeking, and brings about confusion and disorder.
“17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)
On the other hand heavenly wisdom is pure, peace-loving and sincere. Heavenly wisdom is merciful, it is impartial and bears good fruit. Driven by the love of God, flowing from the Holy Spirit, heavenly wisdom is a blessing to all believers.
Let us continue our walk toward our Lord’s kingdom in peace according to the word of God found in the Epistle of James. Humble, patient and of heavenly wisdom, let’s demonstrate our spiritual maturity by our actions, by our conduct, our works and our words. Let’s pray.
We thank you for your blessings in our lives
For forgiving our sins and for loving us unconditionally,
For strengthening us when tried or tempted by evil
And for inspiring us to be more like you each day.
Lord we pray you will continue to guide our footsteps
To live and speak as you did when among us as Jesus the Christ,
And we praise you Lord for your word the bible
Allow us father to grow in heavenly wisdom.
Father we ask you to help us remember
That all we do unto others we do unto you,
And that if we are ashamed of you and your word
You will be ashamed of us.
God we love you and thank you for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre