Tuesday, May 23, 2006

James 3:1-12 Taming the Tongue

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or 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. 5Likewise 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. 6The 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.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Today I was walking with my children, and they were misbehaving in the store. I had to catch myself from yelling at them. Whenever I do something that is exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit, I destroy my testimony. I remove any chance of being able to speak with strangers about the Gospel. "Hey, weren't you that guy just yelling at his kids? Why should we listen to you?"

Even though I have been given a new heart, I am still a sinner and can get caught up speaking poorly about someone, or gossiping. before I know it I have sinned against my neighbor, and destroyed my ability to witness to someone. Before you go out, pray "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips" so you can always produce fresh water for the mouths of the thirsty. Don't let garbage ruin the springs of salvation that we are to be pouring out for the lost.

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