Friday, June 1, 2018

James, part 3, Taming the Tongue

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash



Chapter 3 is all about taming the tongue. Read verses 9 and 10:
 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Really meditate on this. In fact, read the whole chapter in your own Bible and underline the parts that apply to you. If you have trouble with your speech, that is, bad words flow readily out of your mouth, you can at least take comfort in the fact that “no man can tame the tongue,” so you’re not alone. However, the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” and you would be wise to ask the Lord for help.
Now read chapter 4: 1 – 10:
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
   “God opposes the proud
   but shows favor to the humble.”
 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
 That last phrase “he will lift you up” is a match for our Hebrew letter samech which means support.
Have you heard people say I’ll do this or that “Lord willing?” See chapter 4 verse 15 and you’ll see why Christians say this.
Chapter 5 gives a strong warning to the rich oppressors then goes on to encourage us to be patient until the Lord’s coming.  We also learn in verse 12 not to swear by heaven or earth or anything. Finally, James ends his letter with encouragement to us to pray for one another and to confess our sins to one another. Isn’t that interesting? It doesn’t say confess to a priest.