Summary: Real Faith Will Tame the Tongue Series: Real Faith (Book of James) Brad Bailey – October 18, 2020
Real Faith Will Tame the Tongue
Series: Real Faith (Book of James)
Brad Bailey – October 18, 2020
Hey everybody. I’m so glad you are joining in today. As we each go through this unique time of living through a pandemic... I continue to appreciate the significance of being able to go through these challenges TOGETHER. I sense how valuable it is to share this whole experience and all the crazy elements with one another. Having others alongside can help us stay more centered... and more sane.
We are continuing in a series entitled REAL FAITH...in which God is speaking to us... through the Biblical Book of James. For those who are less familiar...James is one of the smaller "books" in the last part of the Bible...in the New Testament ... that you will find after the four Gospels. It’s written by James....who was a half-brother of Jesus himself. James brings forth the nature of what we could call real faith. ... as notably different than just so called “religious beliefs.” It is God’s call to go for the real thing.
So one of the major themes of the book of James is self-deception... the ways we lie to ourselves. We rationalize, in other words, we tell rational lies to ourselves. We try to convince with our mind what we know in our heart is wrong. We come back to this theme in James over and over again... because you and I cannot become all that God wants us to be... until we start being honest with ourselves.
And one of the most common windows of our self-deception is what comes out of our mouths... what we say. We may want to believe that what is in us is all good... but our words betray us. What comes out of us can reveal that we're not nearly as God-centered and mature as we think we are. In James 1:26 he says this:
?Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.??Ouch. Here James introduces his reference to the tongue. And we are going to hear a lot of references to the “tongue” as he expounds further. It may begin to sound like he is really attacking this particular physical part of the body. But James is simply using a common way of referring to a part of the body to speak about the activity that it represents. He is speaking about how we act...in this case... what we say. Some may recall that Jesus spoke of the eye in a similar way...when he spoke of the eye causing us to stumble. He was referring to how we chose to look at others. So James is addressing the issue of what we say....of what comes out of our mouths. He is saying: If you say that you have committed your life to God... but your words show that they have no guide... you’re fooling yourself. Now in chapter three he expounds on this. Let’s listen to how this challenge is developed... and then consider what it means for us.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
He begins his point by referring to teaching. In particular, he is referring to those who may teach the Scriptures in the church...as I am doing now. His words remind me of the intense responsibility I feel every week. But I don’t think that his ultimate point is to discourage anyone from becoming a teacher. He is making the point that there is a strong tendency ...especially among religious people... to view teaching as having power...because we are enamored with the power of what we say. James is showing that when it comes to words...and speaking...we need to realize that we may be too quick to think that speaking will reveal how good and smart we are. In truth... those who teach are be accountable for what they say. Anyone desiring to teach should pause...and realize that no one is really that perfect... and so while we presume, we will always say the right thing... none of us will.
If you are familiar with how trail lawyers tend to counsel their clients... by experience or watching various shows...you may recall how lawyers will often implore their clients NOT to testify if they do not have to. What lawyers know...is that so many people... even when guilty of a crime...will think that they have all the right things to say. We tend to think what we say will be convincing... but the truth is...we usually reveal more of what is really in us that may not be so good. So often those who think they should get on the stand...can’t control what comes out... and the truth comes out... who they really are comes out...and their own tongue gets the best of them.