Chapter 3 has only one theme, guard what you say. We will be picking up in verse 8 and finish out the chapter.
I Just Can’t Help It
James goes right to the heart of the matter calling the tongue an unruly evil and deadly poison.
As we get to verse 8 we need to ponder what James is saying; he says that we cannot tame the tongue. Let’s stop and let that soak in. Does that mean we can say whatever we want and have an excuse? Let’s step into our next segment and see.
If you have gone to the Circus you might have seen the Lion Tamers do their act. Actually you cannot tame a lion so when you work with them you must always be on guard. This is exactly what James is trying to tell us; when talking, don’t let your guard down for a minute. As soon as you lose focus you may say something destructive or hurtful.
Good and Evil
Verse 9 tells us that if the tongue is left unchecked we can speak kind words and later speak evil words. The key is when we leave the tongue “unchecked”. We have to be careful all the time.
In verse 10 James says that the same mouth is capable of blessing and cursing but he goes on to say it is wrong to speak evil. God is not going to tell us to stop speaking evil unless we have the ability to do so. We have the ability to stop only if we realize that we must think about what we say before we say it. When we find ourselves in a high emotional state it is safer to just stop talking.
Wisdom and Folly
Verse 13: He who guards their words is accounted as wise.
In verses 14-16 James talks about those who do not guard their words. When we allow envy and strife to build up on the inside we are a powder keg that can blow at any minute.
Verses 17-18 are for those who have made up their mind to follow God and take great care for what comes out of their mouth. The pattern of their words will promote purity, mercy and peace.
Heavenly Father, grant us restraint to control our emotions, wisdom to choose our words wisely and the focus to be constantly on guard.