Your Treasure. Your Heart. Your Words.
PART TWO: The Power and the Peril of the Tongue
(Download Barclay commentary on James 3)
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2 (NLT)
Words have significance in three domains:
In the Kingdom of God (realm of the spirit)
In your life: spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions), body
In your circumstances
Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To confirm our beliefs and release our faith in God
2 Corinthians 4:13, And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,
James teaches about the power of the tongue
James 3:1 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 [brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness] man, able also to bridle [to lead by a bridle, to guide, hold in check, restrain] the whole body.
(Barclay) James is not pleading for a cowardly silence but for a wise use of speech.
Small things control big things
James 3:3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great [great not in “good” but as is exaggerated or overblown] things.
Taming the tongue, and the heart
James 3:5, See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles [stain or soil] the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
God gave mankind dominion over a creatures in the earth but he cannot tame the tongue.
I watched a dolphin show at the zoo last year. It was incredible that these animals had been trained to do the amazing things they did. We even train our dogs, but the tongue is not tamed. Only the heart can tame the tongue, and the heart must be trained by God. "Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Gen.1:28)
Living in contradiction, hypocrisy, and duplicity - deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing.
James 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Peter was caught in hypocrisy, and duplicity
Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
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