December 14th

 

Wise Words

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.
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
 James 3:7-18 NIV 

Taming our tongues is a challenge that many of us may face as we follow Christ.  Our mouths have a special and potentially powerful role in our relationship with God, namely to praise God.  We may also use them to encourage and edify others.  But, as James mentioned, we can also use our mouths for evil purposes. 

Our words ultimately reflect what is in our hearts.  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV).  As fruit indicates the type of tree, so our words indicate the condition of our hearts.  James said that if we allow bitter envy and selfish ambition to be in our hearts, “disorder and every evil practice” will also be there.  Bitter envy and selfish ambition may seem unlikely residents of our hearts, but things like criticism, sarcasm and gossip could indicate that they are there. 

God wants us to use our words wisely to build up one another and foster the fruits of the Spirit.  He wants us to be peace-makers, whose words are motivated by “heavenly wisdom”, which is “considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God in heaven, Thank you for making me in your likeness and giving me the ability to form and speak words.  Please forgive me for using my words for evil purposes, specifically when I __________________ (list the incidents & persons that come to mind).  I repent from that sin and I ask that you would cancel any negative effects of those words by the blood of Jesus.  I submit my tongue to you, Lord and ask for help in using it exclusively for good and peaceful purposes in everything I say.  I believe that all things are possible through you!  Thank you, Lord.  I praise you now and forever, Amen.”