This Weeks Notes – September 12, 2021
In this passage of Scripture, James 3:1-12 , we see the single most sustained discussion in the New Testament on the use of the tongue. It is believed the author of this book was James, the half-brother of Jesus. It is clear that he possess wisdom of the Old Testament Scriptures and also in the teaching of Jesus. The book of Proverbs and Jesus spoke about the nature and use of the tongue. We see James walk in their footprints. Much of what he says exposes the sin and failure of our speech.
Jesus says, the tongue projects the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It is from within, “out of the heart,” that the mouth speaks (compare with Matthew 12:34; 15:18–19). A smoker is so accustomed to the odor and the atmosphere in which they live, similar to the person with polluted speech, they have little or no sense of the destruction and pollution they spread with their speech. Scripture teaches us however, that the breath by which we express our deepest desires, instincts, and opinions may produce helpful and pleasing fruit. (read Proverbs 15:4)
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. James sees that the tongue is an instrument of extraordinary power, out of all proportion to its size. Whatever its anatomical connections, its most significant connection is to the heart, whether hardened by sin or recreated by grace.
James is concerned that we should have a sense of the convicting power of his teaching. For this reason he began by addressing the difficulty of taming the tongue. It is a word spoken primarily to bring conviction of sin. For the tongue is difficult, impossible to tame naturally, because, as we have seen, it exercises power out of all proportion to its size.
But James’s words are applicable far beyond those who are called to teach. We all use our tongues. If the mastery of the tongue is a sign of maturity, it is so for all Christians. So James 3:1–12 has general as well as specific application. How we use our tongues provides clear evidence of where we are spiritually. “Spiritual maturity is evidenced by the use of the tongue. Tongue-mastery is the fruit of self-mastery.”
Do you have a desire to control your tongue better? Do you want to follow the example of Jesus? It is important to remember that He is Savior first, and then he is Example. Being conscious of the sin of your lips, fall on your knees and say:
God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I thank you that Jesus came and was silent in order that he might bear the penalty of all my misuse of my tongue.
Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.
Join us this Sunday for In-Person Worship or join us online as we explore the negative and positive use of the tongue.
I don’t know how, but I know WHO!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nelda
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Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at First United Methodist Church of Kennedale.
PO BOX 146 – 229 W 4th St. – Kennedale, TX 76060