Seeking Jesus First - July 29, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - July 29, 2023
Photo by Warren Coetzer / Unsplash

An unbridled tongue is a believer’s worst enemy. The mature believer bridles his tongue. When we learn to speak only what God says about us, we put a bridle on our own flesh and we quit stumbling. A person, simply by using faith-filled, God-inspired words…

…becomes his own prophet and foretells his own future.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct (conversation - speech and behavior) that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:1–18, NKJV)

Please notice that this chapter is talking about bridling the tongue which in turn bridles the body. It is a continuation of the topic in Chapter Two which says, “faith without works is dead”, and it puts a focus on what a believer does once they have come into relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, this is not talking about forgiveness or what it takes to receive forgiveness of sins. These passages are not talking about the new birth. They are the kindergarten to college level classes that a child takes to learn how to communicate and to walk in his identity. These chapters are about training believers to accept and walk in their identity as sons of God.

Chapter Three actually warns believers to not take the role as a teacher of other believers until they are mature enough to handle the harsher judgement that comes upon those who teach. Verse Two tells us that a teacher should be a mature believer who has bridled his tongue and subsequently has bridled his flesh.

From that point, the discussion turns to the reason why we need to bridle the tongue:

  • The tongue can easily start destructive fires in others.
  • The tongue has access to the world of iniquity.
  • The tongue can defile the body.
  • The tongue can put you on a course that causes your own nature to burn passionately for the wrong things.
  • The tongue can lead you straight to hell.
  • The tongue is untamable by ability or strength.
  • The tongue is unruly and full of evil poison.
  • The tongue is quick to judge and curse and join in with others who are doing the same.

The only way to bridle the tongue is to heal the source. The tongue can only be bridled by the word and the spirit. The spirit must  be filled with faith, hope and love. Then the well will bring forth sweet water and blessing instead of cursing. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind and we are renewed in the spirit of our mind and we are being renewed day by day as we stay continually filled with The Holy Spirit instead of alcoholic beverages. (That is what you call a “Scripture Mash-Up”).

Look at how it immediately goes into comparing the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world while it is specifically talking about bridling the tongue and ordering your conversation aright. The wisdom of the world says, “Say what you think, don’t hold it in, give them a piece of your mind.” The wisdom of this world is bitter, envious and selfish. The wisdom of this world is earthly, fleshly, sensual, and demonic.

But Godly wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and the fruit of the spirit. It shows neither partiality nor hypocrisy.

Pure - transparent, no ulterior motives.

Peaceable - It does not stir up strife. Shalom. It is well rounded and full of understanding and compassion.

Gentle - It is not sharp rhetoric.

Willing to yield - Humble.

Full of mercy - ready to forgive.

Full of good fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self control.

Mature believers are able to teach others how to be mature believers. They are peace makers (shalom walkers) who peacefully sow the fruit of righteousness in all that they say and do.