Summary: 3rd in a 5 part series from the book of James on making practical application to real problems.
RELIGION THAT REALLY WORKS - Week 3
TAMING THE TROUBLEMAKER
Finish this statement for me. "Sticks and Stones may _____ __ _____, but _____ ____ ______ ____ ___." How long did it take you to learn that little saying may be the dumbest..and the most untrue statement? Probably not very long. I mean when we were little we might shout that to other kids just after they had called us an ugly name, and then we run home crying. Because those names, "fatso," "skinny," "four-eyes," "chicken," really were painful. So we said that little ditty to cover up how deeply it hurt. In fact, I’m sure some of you here today can mentally replay a time or two when derogatory comments were made about you. You remember the pain. I read where someone rewrote that saying more truthfully when they wrote: "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but they can soon be mended. But names and words hurt my soul and the damage has never ended." Prov. 18:21- "...the tongue can kill or nourish life."(NLT)
Well, in this 3rd chapter, James offers another of his prescriptions for a healthy soul- taming the tongue. He tells us that this small muscle in our mouths can be an terrible troublemaker because it has awesome power. And he insists that just as a Doctor asks us to stick out our tongues and say “Ahhhh....” to check for physical health, Jesus, the Great Physician does the same thing and measures spiritual health by what our tongue speaks. Now, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, from just checking this whole God thing out or a follower of Jesus for many years, this is a message where all of us can benefit. Because like the other studies in this book, this is very practical and demonstrates once again a religion that really works.
I. THE TONGUE HAS POSITIVE POWER:
James begins by telling us that the tongue has positive power. Human speech has its dangers but the ability to speak well can be a tremendous blessing. For example, it has the power for instruction. Vs:1- “My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers, because of their talk, will be judged more strictly than others.” Now, James is not saying that no-one should teach. We need those who will give us proper and positive instruction. He is simply saying that teaching is a serious responsibility because there is such power in teaching- to mold, to mature and on a spiritual level, to offer salvation. 2 Tim. 4:16 says, “Watch how you live and what you teach...because if you do these things you will save the people who listen to you.” (SEB) In other words, it’s from our words that they learn about God’s love and how He wants them to be with Him forever. So, James is not saying, “don’t teach,” but to recognize the responsibility that comes with teaching because what we say, especially to those who are looking to us for instruction, can have such power, both positive and negative. That’s why he says teachers will be judged more strictly. How and what we teach is an awesome responsibility.