Well, folks. James has done it. He’s written a chunk of verses that’ve rendered me speechless. I’ve had such a big problem controlling my tongue this week (okay, my whole life–my dad lovingly used to call me Mouth) that I can’t think of a more horrible chapter to try to analyze and unravel.
The tongue is hard to tame. I’m doing a sucky job. From my mouth is coming both praise to my Father and curses on his children.
THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO.
I do take comfort in my brother Paul who read my mind when he wrote Romans 7:18-19: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”
Like, hypothetically, screaming at my 9yo home-schooler and then throwing my Language Arts Teacher’s Edition against the wall when she says just the right thing to put me over the edge (she is quickly gaining on Gabe in the Knowing-How-to-Push-Marla’s-Buttons department).
And then we get to verse 14 with all its “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,” and I think to myself, “Can’t I catch a break this week? Did you have to go and focus on what are quite possibly my three biggest problem areas? 1. taming my tongue. 2. bitterness and/or jealousy and 3. selfish ambition.”
I have a couple options here. Turn this into a self-focused, self-deprecating confessional hour OR take it to God and spend the rest of my time focusing on verses 17-18.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (pretty much all the things he’s been hammering home in the first two chapters) And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
So there’s wisdom from God and wisdom from hell (v.15) and God promises (1:5) that if we ask in faith, he’ll give us the good kind of wisdom. And this wisdom apparently isn’t just intellectual know-how. It comes as a package full of purity and peace and gentleness and open-mindedness and mercy and fruit-bearing and impartiality and sincerity and a big ol’ harvest of righteousness.
Oh, God, I want that wisdom. I NEED that wisdom! Please help my unbelief so I can ask for it in faith and not doubt! Give me that pure, peaceful, gentle, merciful, beautiful, stinking awesome wisdom!!
1. How did James 3 hit you over the head this week?
2. What encouraged you from this chapter?
3. What action steps can you take today to help line your life up with Scripture?