James 3 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
How do we control this tongue? Make it a matter of daily prayer. Begin by praying Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”.Here are some other verses on words and the tongue to write in your prayer journal and pray into your life daily:.Proverbs 10:21 — “The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.” Lord, may my lips nourish people today..Psalm 17:3 — “Today I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” Lord, help me choose righteousness, not sinfulness.
.Philippians 4:8 — “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. . . ” May I think on these things today..I Timothy 4:12 — “Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Let me remember, Lord, that I am representing you.
The responsibility of a teacher’s position
1Don’t aim at adding to the number of teachers, my brothers, I beg you! Remember that we who are teachers will be judged by a much higher standard.
Hearing Jesus in James:
Matthew 5:19 (ESV)
“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
The danger of the tongue
“Three things come not back — the spent arrow, the spoken word, the lost opportunity.”
–Willam George Plunkett, the “man of a thousand sayings”
2-6We all make mistakes in all kinds of ways, but the man who can claim that he never says the wrong thing can consider himself perfect, for if he can control his tongue he can control every other part of his personality! Men control the movements of a large animal like the horse with a tiny bit placed in its mouth. Ships too, for all their size and the momentum they have with a strong wind behind them, are controlled by a very small rudder according to the course chosen by the helmsman. The human tongue is physically small, but what tremendous effects it can boast of! A whole forest can be set ablaze by a tiny spark of fire,
and the tongue is as dangerous as any fire, with vast potentialities for evil. It can poison the whole body, it can make the whole of life a blazing hell.
Hearing Jesus in James:
Matthew 15:18 (ESV)
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.“
7-12 Beasts, birds, reptiles and all kinds of sea-creatures can be, and in fact are, tamed by man, but no one can tame the human tongue. It is an evil always liable to break out, and the poison it spreads is deadly.
A woman once came to John Wesley and said she knew what her talent was — “I think my talent from God is to speak my mind.” Wesley replied, “I don’t think God would mind if you buried that talent.” Speaking forth everything that comes to mind is unwise, poisonous speech.
We use the tongue to bless our Father, God, and we use the same tongue to curse our fellow-men, who are all created in God’s likeness. Blessing and curses come out of the same mouth—surely, my brothers, this is the sort of thing that never ought to happen! Have you ever known a spring to give sweet and bitter water simultaneously? Have you ever seen a fig-tree with a crop of olives, or seen figs growing on a vine? It is just as impossible for a spring to give fresh and salt water at the same time.
Real, spiritual wisdom means humility, not rivalry
13-16Are there some wise and understanding men among you? Then your lives will be an example of the humility that is born of true wisdom. But if your heart is full of rivalry and bitter jealousy, then do not boast of your wisdom—don’t deny the truth that you must recognise in your inmost heart. You may acquire a certain superficial wisdom, but it does not come from God—it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil. For wherever you find jealousy and rivalry you also find disharmony and all other kinds of evil.
Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God . . .
17-18 The wisdom that comes from God is first utterly pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favouritism or hint of hypocrisy.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
. . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness—in other people and in themselves.
Hearing Jesus in James:
Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
And the principle productive of this righteousness is sown, like good seed, in the peace of a believer’s mind, and brings forth a plentiful harvest of happiness, (which is the proper fruit of righteousness,) for them that labour to promote this pure and holy peace among all men.
HERE is “Bite My Tongue” by Relient K, a Christian rock band from Ohio. Confession and plea.
J. B. Phillips, “The New Testament in Modern English”, 1962 edition by HarperCollins