Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Study Through James - Part 7

First of all, I'm so sorry for not posting in so long! These posts do take a long time, which is why I have been putting it off. But I'm going to try to keep going through this study. =)
Today we're going to be looking at James 3:1-12.

"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."

Okay, so let's dig in! =)
This is one of the best passages in scripture, if you ask me, because it seems to apply to everyone. I think everyone has a sharp tongue... and I know I do. I can seem all sweet and nice, but if you really know me, I'm actually quite cocky. So I definitely need this, I know.
But let's first look at verses 1-2. "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." Verse 1 for a while was a little confusing to me. I didn't really understand why it was thrown into this chapter. It looked really random, so I never really paid much attention to it. But I think it is really interesting. James is saying that not many people should try to be teachers. Why? Because they are judged more strictly. Now, look at that verse, and put it in context with the rest of these verses. Basically, he is saying that we are not to jump too quickly into being teachers, since they are judged more. And through that, he is basically saying not many people are able to hold their tongue very well. If we are ever to be teachers (this includes mothers, girls), we need to learn to hold our tongue when we need to. We are judged more than normal people. And also, future mothers, take note of this: your children watch every single move you make, and listen to every single word you say. I have observed this not only with younger children, but also with myself. And so we need to learn to hold our tongue. Verse 2 is also very interesting. It says that if we are never at fault in what we say, we are perfect. This is so true. So, if you don't ever say anything wrong, will you please give me your secret? =P

On to verses 3-6: "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." James makes a very important point in these verses. He uses the example of a bit in the mouth of a horse, and a rudder in a ship. Both are so incredibly small, yet the control both the horse and the ship. And also, a small spark sets off a huge forest fire. In verse 6, he explains why he mentioned these three. The tongue is a fire. Ever thought about that? Go to a mirror, stick your tongue out, and thing about the fact that it is a fire. Might make you laugh; it's making me smile thinking about it. But then seriously think about it. It's true. I can remember *so* many things I've said in the past that I wish I had never said. That little pink thing in your mouth is something set on fire by hell. It speaks out horrible things... sarcasm, taunts, teasing laughter, things such as "I hate you!"... yes, these all come out of all of us. It does put us to shame. Oh yes, we think about all the wonderful things we've done... but... just look, "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts." Okay... so, when you throw out all the boasting of the "wonderful things" that we've done... and we're left with the things we have spoken... shameful isn't it? Yeah. It is for me.

Now, on to verses 7 and 8: "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." These are very interesting verses. James tells us that every animal can be tamed by man. But then he says that nobody - not one soul that has ever lived, is living, or ever will live - can tame his own tongue. Now go back to that mirror, and stick your tongue out again. Now, think about the fact that it is a restless evil filled with deadly poison. Did you ever think about the fact that the girl you teased got shot full of that deadly poison? Or did it ever occur to you that the person you told you hated got hit by that restless evil? It is hard to think about, but it's true. We have all said something at one time or another that filled a person with the poison. That poison is literally painful, as Proverbs 12:18 tells us: "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 12:25 says, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." Proverbs 15:28 says, "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil." So, this tells us a little bit about the tongue. We've learned it can pierce like a sword, it can weigh someone down, and it has the power of life and death. Proverbs clearly states that the saying "Sticks and bones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is just simply not true.

And the last verses, 9-12 : "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." These are some of the most convicting verses in the chapter, book, and perhaps the Bible. We can praise Jesus, do so much good for Him, and yet, curse our own brother or sister in Christ. Think of someone you just can't stand. Someone you tend to talk about behind their back. Okay, have someone in mind? I do. Now, read this: "We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." That is 1 John 4:19-21. Kind of convicting? Yeah, I would agree. Think about it. You absolutely cannot love God if you don't love everyone you know. And you're thinking, "That is impossible!" But it isn't. Listen to 1 John 5:3-4, "This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." So, in other words, God gives us the strength not only to overcome our bad parts, He gives us the ability to overcome the world! Anyway, I'm getting off track here, so lets go back to James. So, we were at the point that we love and praise God, yet curse man. Verse 10 tells us this is simply not right. Of course, we know that, but then look at the examples in verses 11 and 12. Fresh water and salt water do not flow from the same spring, and fig trees do not bear olives. Now, think about this: you plant a nice peach tree, and you're expecting peaches in a couple of years. Well, one day you look out, and instead of seeing peaches coming on, you see big red cherries! Now, that is absolutely unthinkable. But then again, we are just like that. We call ourselves Christians, praising God, doing good works, and looking just like one. These are the peaches we are expecting, and everyone expects. And then, one day, we see that girl who looks like a geek (or at least, we think so). We turn over to our friends, and start giggling and pointing. Now where on earth are those cherries coming from? They're not supposed to be there!! And yet there they are, coming straight from that peach tree. We are not to be like that. We should *always* treat *everyone* with utmost respect. And trust me, I'm not just saying this to all of you. I am horrible about talking behind someone's back. I am quite eager to say everything *bad* I can say about them, rather than looking for something good to say. So, lets try for once, when we are just about to say something not-so-nice about someone, turn around, and not say it. No matter how hard it is to not to say it.

Well, I hope y'all enjoyed the post. =) Have a great week!

In Christ alone,
~Madison

4 comments:

pam said...

Hi Madison, I am a mother of 5 boys...17,12,5,4,20m. It lifts my spirits to see a young lady such as yourself on fire for the Lord. I did not know you were a teen until after I had read this and chosen to save it for my 17yr old to read. I know he will relate well to it since you are age related. Keep up the good work, for the Lord will bless the fruits of your labor. Because of Him, Pam

Madison said...

Hello Mrs. Pam. =)
Thank you so much for the encouraging comment! I appreciate it. I'm very glad you enjoyed the post, and I'm honored that you would have your son read it!
Thanks so much!

~Madison

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