If you haven’t noticed, I’m going through James for the next 30 days, 1 chapter per day and repeating 6 times… so I guess I’m writing a series…
James 3:2 (NLT) 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.
This isn’t the first time that James has referenced “…we would be perfect…” Look back to James 1:4 – “…when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete…”
Only Jesus is perfect and can “… control (himself) in every way (James 3:2)” and “…lacks nothing (James 1:4).” James is clearly instructing us (the church) in how to become like Jesus.
What does it mean to “… control ourselves in every way?” Isn’t that exactly what we all struggle with in some sort or another? It seems to me that this is mean exactly what it says…. controlling every other aspect of our lives…
According to this passage, controlling our tongue is the key to self control.
Why? James goes on in verses 3-7 to give examples of how something so small (a bit in a horse’s mouth, a rudder on a ship, a spark to a fire) can have such great impact. Those examples imply that our tongue control/leads, guides and ignites our lives.
In verses 9-12 James gives examples of impossibilities in nature – a spring that gives both salty and fresh water; a tree that produces olives and figs – and how it should also be impossible for us to praise and curse.
These are certainly compelling arguments from James, but are there any other scriptures that validate or corroborate the idea of our tongue being the key to self control?
How about starting with Jesus?
Matthew 15:18-21 “18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
Matthew 12:33-35 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.“
Proverbs 18: 20-21 (NKJV) 20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
So it starts in our heart. What we put in, is what we get out. It is imperative that we flood our heart with good… to abundance. Jesus said it. What is in abundance in our hearts is what comes out of our mouths. What comes out of our mouths controls, leads, guides and ignites our lives.
In a previous post I wrote extensively about why and how the heart/words connection is so important (2nd point in the post – it’s worth the read). I’m convinced that self-control is so tied to how we spiritually feed our hearts.
Our church is starting a new series this week on exactly this. It’s entitled “Words: Life or Death” and my pastor is one of the best teachers I’ve ever heard. If you can’t come to the service, you should watch it online next week.
Come on – leave a comment. Let’s discuss this.
Running After Papa…