Summary: #5 in a series through James James Chapter 3
Are you burning or building the Kingdom? James 3:1-18
One of the greatest things about out society is that we are a people who build. Especially here in America. If someone builds a bigger building than we do, we simply build one bigger. If someone else builds a big stadium, another city will work to build a bigger one. You only have to look in the Guinness Book of Records to see that we want to build BIG EVERYTHING! Sundaes, balls of string, bridges, you name it… we build it bigger!
But we are also a nation of destroyers. If you have ever watched shows on TLC or Discovery they will even host a weeks that highlight the fact that we love to blow things up. The bigger the explosion the better. And we laugh at that kind of thing, we will ooh, and aahh we there is a big flash and a lot of smoke. We can blow things up better than anyone in the world!
There is however an even deadlier way that we destroy. All of us are guilty of it at one time or another. And some of us may even be guilty of it today.
That is apparently what was on James’ heart when he addressed the deadliest, yet most utilized destruction tool. THE TONGUE!
As we have seen through this book James addresses what has happened or is happening in the local church, he also uses real life illustrations to help us understand. The issue is one that we can destroy relationships with the flick of a tongue, we can ruin a church by the tossing of a few well-lit words.
(read verses 3-5)
James uses three different elements to explain the power of the tongue. Now the first two actually lead you to see that it is not necessarily the instrument as much as it is the one playing it. Some one has to pull the reins on the bit, and someone has to steer the rudder. James says in verse two that if you can do that then you can control the whole of who you are. But we are told to look and see how large and destructive a fire that the tongue can create.
Many of the fires out west today were started by a single arsonist with a single match. And that is how many destructive situations happen today. We light very destructive fires with the flick of a tongue. But James does not just leave it there… He gives a clear reason as to what the cause is, why it could be that way among people who claim to be Christians.
Beginning in verse 6 through 12 James tells us exactly where that kind of talk comes from…
He says it is a:
A Hellish Fire
God’s word here is very clear.
The root cause of a FIREY and POISON tongue is not the tongue itself. It is when Satan motivates your speech that it will, at its very heart be from:
1. BITTERNESS – Bitterness is not a Godly attribute. It is in fact a cancer, a poison that begins to eat at your internally and when you are pressed in a situation you use that bitterness to bite back. And frankly bitterness begets bitterness. And the more bitterness that you allow to flow, the more harsh and evil your words become. And you burn downward…
2. JEALOUSY – It will drive us to draw attention to us. It is the very thing that Satan uses to get us to verbally bring down others. To make what someone else is doing look small and to tear down what good they are doing. The easiest way to do that is if out of jealousy we verbally attack with out clear truth, or slander and our words are not truly honest. And the more you burn downward….
3. SELFISHNESS – “I didn’t get it my way so I am going to talk bad about them.” Now that isn’t what we would say out loud to ourselves… but it sure is what we will do. Selfishness will lead you to say things that are mean, evil and nasty about people … And the more you do the more you burn downward…
In verse 9 thru 12 You can feel James’ frustration -James says this ought not be the way… it makes no sense… how can you say you love GOD and yet turn right around and cuss not only your neighbor but someone in the church!
Our speech needs to be and build a:
Building requires framework, it requires using words to build friendships, relationships and unity. And The tongue builds where WISDOM is ACTIVE. Remember – wisdom is active knowledge. And wisdom from God has this to set as its framework.