Monthly Archives: December 2011

Friends of God or enemies?

You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (Jas 4:2-4)

These Christians are incorrigible. (I know. How many of us use that word? But it fits.) The last group of people in the Bible that I had this angst about was the Corinthians in the First letter Paul wrote.  James is bringing it all out in full view. He is not holding anything back.

Normally these items that he mentions would be hidden. Lust, murder and coveting are things that remain hidden until disclosed by action. (It is my thought that “murder” here is not an actual taking of another’s life. Rather, it would be the hatred that leads to murder. Jesus traces murder back to hatred without a cause and to despising your brother (Mt 5:21-22)) Rather than staying hidden, these heart attitudes are being displayed, “you fight and war” he says.  Verse 1, as we saw, already puts the source of these fightings within the person themselves. James says they are out for everyone to see.

James says that the reason that they do not “have” is because they are not asking. Further he says that when they do ask (can we insert the phrase “bother to ask God”?), they don’t receive it because their motives are impure, not sincere. They ask for things that they will spend on their own pleasures.  What might they be asking for? To be a teacher? To be more wealthy?  To have wisdom? (So that they might have prestige?) All that would be in line with the hints the book as given us.

When Simon the sorcerer saw that Peter and John could give the Holy Spirit (Acts 8), he asked for that ability also and he offered them money.  Peter rebuked him. Simon might have had kin here because here are these Christians asking God for the object of their desires and not receiving what they ask for.  Because they also ask amiss!   They were asking so that you can spend it on their own pleasures!

(Sidenote: God is not a cosmic vending machine so that by saying the right words in a certain order, that the desired gift pops out. Asking for wisdom is one thing, asking for the things you that you ask for, with selfish reasons, for your own indulgences, are not in line with the types of gifts God gives.)

These Christians are worldly minded and he now seems to explode at them. How would you feel if someone called you an adulterous person? In this context adultery is clearly a spiritual ailment rather than the typical sexual sin.  (Either way is still bad) Israel was guilty of playing the harlot with other nations and God condemned them for it. Here also these Christians are doing the same thing. Even today we see this same characteristic.

You have a choice. How long will you go limping between two sides? Choose this day whom you will serve. If you wish to be a friend of the world, you will be an enemy of God. Notice: the person who wants to be friends with the world MAKES himself an enemy of God.  After all God did to make peace with you, you now wish to make him your enemy?

Now I don’t want you to think that James is telling them that they are lost here. Not yet. He has, after all called them beloved brethren in this letter. However, he is warning them in no uncertain terms that the path they are on is not a good one. If you continue to become friends with the world, an enemy of God you will also be. Enemies are destroyed.  This might be an uncomfortable thing for them to hear, it certainly is for us today.

The sad truth is for those that leave God’s grace, that they were not snatched, they were not forced, and they were not overwhelmed by Satan’s might. No, they were enticed and drawn away; they saw the attractions of the world and like a child wander toward the pretty balloons and entertainment. They gave into their own desires and made friends with the world. They themselves make themselves to be God’s enemy.

Look in the mirror

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (Jas 4:1)

So James has just introduced the idea of peace and righteousness and then asks about quarrels and fights. Where do they come from? I will offer the suggestion that in the first question, the “you” is among the congregation and that in the second question, the “you” is the individual Christian.  In this way I read this to be:

What is the cause of the quarrels and fights in your congregation? Is the cause not found in the passions that lie within each Christian?

It is a common theme in the Bible that we look to ourselves. Jesus urged us to remove the log from our own eye before helping another with a speck in theirs. (Mt 7) Paul urged in 2 cor 13:5 to “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith” and it also seems to fit the context to have James locate the source of conflicts in the group within those individuals. To put it in the first person: The biggest problem with the congregation is ME!

Of course, if I am the biggest problem in the congregation, then I am also the solution to the biggest problem of the congregation.  So many times we fail to see how we contribute to problems in our relationships. We are only too happy to put the blame anywhere but with ourselves. Many more fights and quarrels would be ended if a person would stop and ask “am I contributing to this conflict?” or “What is driving my push for this or that position?”

You may recall James 1 that taught us not to blame God for our sin because they from our own desire. You will recall in James 2 he started with a desire to show partiality for the rich. Chapter 3 confronts those who desire to be teachers. Conflict, desires, misunderstandings in relationships with God and others and on and on. It isn’t in God, it is in us.

Whenever one seeks to promote or help improve his status and especially doing at the expense of others, there will be fights, quarrels and lack of peace.  If you are trying to get your own way, and especially if you are trying to get your way over God’s way, you will cause all sorts of conflicts.

Harvesting in peace

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:18

When I was about 13 or so, we had a garden. I learned two things in the couple of years that we had that garden. The first thing I learned was that, sometimes gardening is fun but mostly, it is hard work.

The hard work is not in the planting of the seeds, although it does take some effort to do that. Some seeds you can just place on the top of the soil and it works out ok, several, like corn you have to bury a little ways down.  No, the hard part in gardening is not the sowing; it is the preparing of and the tending to the garden.  Anyone can scatter seed and some of the seed will grow but not generally enough to outpace the weeds, animals, and what little you have that grows will not be that great, that tasty, that worth it.

peas from Google images

The second thing I learned was that no matter how much I might want peas, if I planted carrots, I would get carrots. I would not get peas. You reap what you sow, and depending on how you tend to that garden, you may not reap much.

In life, we are always sowing and reaping. If we sleep late, we miss the interview and the job. If we study hard, we get a good grade. If we don’t save money, we have none in retirement. If we sow to the flesh, we shall reap the flesh; if we sow to the Spirit we shall reap the Spirit. God is not mocked (Gal 6:7-9)

James says that a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace.  If you sow righteousness, you will reap righteousness. We should go about our business. We should tend to our garden. By preparing and weeding and watering it, the harvest will result. A man busy in the responsibilities of his own life will not have so much time to get involved in the affairs of another. He will neither take the time to judge him, nor meddle, nor gossip, nor quarrel. In other words, there is peace not war. Righteousness can be sown and harvested.

Since James did not write in chapters, verses, or paragraphs, I would ask the question: Which chapter does this verse go with? Let’s have it work double duty and go with both. Perhaps it is a transition between the thoughts of chapter 3 and 4.

First, if a person wants to be a teacher so badly, let him control his tongue, which also means his heart, the garden of his life in which his fruit (good or bad) grows.  Gossip, slander, anger will not promote peace and without peace, righteousness cannot be sown, nor will it be harvested.  Such incorrect uses of the tongue show that a person truly is not wise because, if a person can’t see those weeds in his own garden, how can he see clearly to pull the weeds in a brother’s garden.  Besides, if you are so busy tending to your own garden, preparing, weeding, watering, you will be too busy to even notice when people are admiring your abilities and wanting to learn from you.

Second, the next chapter is going to show the problems this group of Christians had. There was fighting and jealously and overall, just a basic misunderstanding of the way God will work in their life. There was no peace. Certainly, no peace with God; they still wanted to be friends with the world. Their prayers were not answered.  If you want to be righteous people, and more importantly, if you want people in the world to be able to see your good works (and glorify God), you need to learn how to get along. Not just with each other, but with God.

The qualities of Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (Jas 3:17)

Contrasting the wisdom of the world, James turns to the wisdom that one could consider from God. Wisdom is something a person has which allows knowledge to be used to bring about a blessing. I would suggest wisdom from below will not result in a blessing but at most, a short term gain.

Wisdom from above comes from God and should be a blessing in the life of the one who receives it and those in that person’s life.  It is has several characteristics which he mentions that are worth looking into.

It is pure. Wisdom that is tainted with envy and self seeking is not of the quality that God would provide. He does not tempt us; he gives us good and perfect gifts and wants his children to imitate His qualities.

It is peaceable. While it does seem that debates and tumults come, Paul advises that if there is to be a lack of peace that it be the other guys fault not yours. Let’s not be coy about this. As children we sometimes antagonized a sibling or friend to the letter of the law (e.g. “I’m not touching you” I would say as I tormented my sister by placing my finger ever so close to her arm.) Paul really means, “As much as lies within you be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Looking for fights or picking fights will not help the cause of Christ. Much history has been written about those who ‘in the name of Christ’ did great wrongs for their own reasons but it wasn’t based on wisdom from above.

Wisdom makes it appeal in a gentle way. It exhorts and implores, it does not get angry but it can be persistent. Sometimes it doesn’t even use words as Peter suggests to Christian wives married to unbelievers. (1 Peter 3:1-4)

Wisdom must be open to reason:  to be able to appeal to a person or even to have someone appeal to you. The Scriptures teach that we should be able to give a reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15) God appeals “let us reason together “in Isaiah 1:18.  Our faith is not a faith that is blind but is reasonable.

Full of mercy….God in His wisdom through Christ’s sacrifice showed us so much mercy.  We should show that mercy to others and especially in the church (Mt 18). James has recently said “Mercy triumphs over judgment” so show mercy.

Good fruits will proceed from the life of person directed by wisdom from above.  By their fruit you will know them.

God is not a respecter of persons. James has made this point in chapter 2. Being partial shows your lack of wisdom.

Sincere: As opposed to feigning or pretending. The Pharisees came to Jesus often with insincerity in order to trap Him in His words. When offering wisdom it is in the interest of the other person. When I think of sincere, I am reminded of the first word in the list, “pure.”

Two thoughts about this wisdom:

1. In contrasting these two types of wisdom, I am reminded of what James says to teachers in verse 1 and then the conflicts he is going to describe starting in chapter 4.   Look at Proverbs 28:2: “When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.” There are two concepts in this verse that we recently looked at from James. “Many rulers” (or teachers if you will allow me to suggest a substitute) vs. a single man, and the implied instability that comes with many vs.  the wise man and the stability brought by his wisdom.     

2. This wisdom is not a wisdom that comes to very many youth. There are exceptions but just in the fact that James has to explain what wisdom from God looks like suggests that not only do most youth not get it, many older ones do not either.  We need to be patience and grow in our maturity.  I have often suggested that perhaps in the family of God, if we are all children of our Father, that the new born are those needing to grow but that the mature are little more than obedient teen-agers, still under the Father’s rule but, babysitting the younger siblings. It may not be the most correct analogy but we all need to realize wisdom comes with age and experience, through God’s providence and even seeing the mistakes of others. It is not something that we can post on the wall like a diploma and say “See, I have wisdom.”

Wisdom to stay away from

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. (Jas 3:15-16)

What kind of wisdom does not descend from above? “this wisdom” refers to verse 14 which we looked at in the last post. Wisdom that has bitter envy and self-seeking in it is a wisdom that does not come from above.

What does come from above? James will tell us the type of wisdom that comes from above in vs 17-18 but do you also recall James 1:17? He says “every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” What a contrast! Remember that James told the one lacking wisdom to ask of God? (1:5) Wisdom is a gift of God and wisdom that is from God is not full of bitter envy nor is it self-seeking.

 This wisdom, that is full of envy and self-seeking, is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For me, in this context, demonic brings to mind anything that is rebellious against the laws and desires of God. When you have envy and self-seeking you wind up with confusion and every evil thing. As I said in the last post, these are not two characteristics that you want to possess.

When I put this into application, I first think about teachers. James started off chapter three talking about teachers and Paul warned the Ephesians elders that from among themselves, their own ranks, some would rise up to draw followers after themselves. (Act 20:28ff)

The second thing I think about this type of wisdom is the absurdities it brings out in people. Wisdom that says “it is better to live together before you get married” or “little white lies are no problem” or “taking equipment from the office is ok because my employer can afford it” or “we need to set aside all religious differences-everyone is ok in God’s sight” and many other examples of wisdom like it are self-seeking or envy driven. When a person is interested in promoting their self or tearing down others, it is easy to find or create a justification. Just think of all the laws David broke in his sin with Bathsheba. Wisdom from above says premarital sex is sin, lying is a sin, stealing is a sin, and the wide gate of ecumenicalism will lead to destruction.

Confusion and evil things reign in the realm of the self seekers and envious. The evil part is easy to understand. All of the problems in this world can be traced back to ego and lack of love and when you think about it; ego and “not love” are almost synonymous. However, “confusion” is a word that I had never associated with bad things but a quick search in with a concordance will reveal that confusion is not a good thing. (I have just found a good word to preach on.) Confusion includes the idea of instability, disorder, riots but if that is not enough, consider this: “God is not the author of confusion” (I cor 14:33)

Sometimes when we use the word “confusion”, we overlook the “instability” aspect of it. If a person can be thrown into a state of instability by attack or temptations, sin can result. It also brings to mind the idea of building on the rock. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Mat 7:24)  Talk about stability!

When Satan was tempting Jesus, can you imagine Jesus saying “Oh, I am hungry, mmm… I could turn the stones to bread. Oh what do I do, I am so confused!” Well, he didn’t have to. “it is written” he responded. No confusion, no instability. He resisted the temptation. Why? Because not only did he want to serve God but He knew God’s word.

Now that we understand what the earthly wisdom is, James will go on to explain the wisdom that comes from God.


Don’t boast against the truth

 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.  (Jas 3:14)

It may not be that a person has wisdom at all. It may be that instead of wanting to be a wise teacher, he really is a bitter, envious, self-seeking individual. James’ advice is that this person face the truth as opposed to trying to deny it.

Looking back on chapter one, James talks about the person who looks intently into the perfect law of liberty. That person looks into it, sees hows he is and by continuing in that law, he will improve more and more. James also talks about the person who says he is religious and yet, he deceives himself. Don’t be that guy. His religion is useless.

There are many sources of envy and while I might be a little hard pressed to explain the difference between envy and envy which can be considered ‘bitter”, I am pretty sure that I do not want either of them to be among my possessions. Envy is a word that is very close to covet or jealous and none of these emotions are good things. I think of envy as something you feel when you do not possess something which someone else has. That something, be it a possession, a position, or a prize is something which you also wish (lust)  to have and because someone else has it, you resent or despise the person for what they have.

James ties in “self-seeking” with this because truly what we are talking about is an attitude of “me first’ and not just first, but second and last also. If you look at the beginning verse in this chapter, perhaps one of the reasons that James does not want many to become teachers is because so many times, it goes to our heads. There is always another teacher who is better, there is always another one who receives this or that honor, there is always another blogger with more subscribers (Hey now!) and so it goes.

Jesus warned against having honor among men, actually he warned against doing things so that you would have honor among men. James seems to be warning about the same thing. If you have these things, then admit that you do. Don’t sit there and lie against the truth.

As a person looks intently into the law of liberty, as they work on being a doer and not a forgetful hearer, as they see those things that they need to correct, they need to admit that it is so. Only by admitting the problem can you begin to correct the problem.  Peter had that problem. He didn’t know his own weakness and when Jesus (the Word) told him plainly, he boasted all the more “I will not deny you” yet, in the end, he did.

I have often wondered, who do the teachers confess to? You never see a preacher respond to his own invitation to come forward and confess sins. No, that would be bad, people would lose confidence in him and that can’t be allowed to happen. It may not be that you see it but a teacher does need to have his own person(s) with whom he can be honest. Otherwise, he may get caught up with sins that he will not admit.

When that happens, he stumbles as we all do and yet it is worse for the teacher than the one who is not a teacher.

My last sermon

Today’s lesson looks at a simple question. What would a preacher preach if it was the last lesson he could? What would he spend the time of his last lesson speaking about? In a way, today was my last sermon; the last sermon of the year. So I went looking and found ‘last messages’ and choose to speak on Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20.

There are many things you could say about this passage but the main points that I spent the time of my ‘last lesson’ were these:

Paul wanted the elders to Take Heed. Beware, be on guard, stay alert. He then tells them what that should take heed to, why they should, and how they can do what he asks them to do.

Take heed to yourselves. First, we need to tend to ourselves. Do we have problems in our own lives that need to be corrected?

Take heed to the flock (others). The elders needed to be on the alert for those of the flock who were weak or wandering away and then also be alert so that no wolves, dressed in sheep clothing infiltrated the flock.

Take heed to shepherd the flock (that is, to your job). Similar to the previous point, this point focused on doing the job that you have been assigned to.

Even though Acts 20:28 applies directly to the elders of a congregation, taking heed to oneself, to the brothers in the church, and to the gifts that God has given us, which are to be used in the church, are things everyone can do and for the same reasons.

The Why of taking Heed is because we are not fighting a physical but spiritual battle. Satan is at war with us, so we should be on the alert. Even from among the Elders themselves, some of them would try to draw away followers after themselves.

Next Paul tells them the HOW they can take heed:

Get into the word. (v. 32) Committing them to the word of His grace would be the Gospel which shares with each God’s favor toward mankind. The scriptures make us wise unto Salvation. Knowing the word, helps us stay on the alert.

Don’t be covetous. (v. 33) Do not get caught up in the deceitfulness of riches, the desires of the world. The world offers its distractions but if you get caught up in the riches, you will have difficulty doing the next two items.

Remember the poor (v. 34) This is something that all followers of God do. They remember the poor. First, those who are saints and then, if possible, even those outside of the church.

Focus on the true reward. (v.35)  It is more blessed to give than receive. Only those who trust in the Heavenly can let go of what appears to be real in your hands. Being able to help the poor, accept that God is taking care of you and keeping your eyes focused on Jesus will help you in your efforts to take heed.

The sermon is posted here

If you are truly wise…

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. (Jas 3:13)

“I am, I am, listen to me!” So many want to toot our own horns and have people listen to us.

The truly wise are not those who SAY they are wise but those who show that they are wise. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Pro 17:28) My favorite way of saying the same thing is this:

It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

There is one way to show that you are wise and understanding. By your works! Oh, I know, we are back to that again, not just from chapter one (verse 23) but also chapter two (verse 14 to 26) but James is going to point out time and time again that works are an important part of our Christian lives.

It isn’t just the good conduct but that the good conduct is done in meekness. Here, meekness would carry with it an implied humility. Meekness is strength controlled. It does not mean weak but that, while you have to power to do a thing, that you don’t do an act out of control or in your own name/will.

Jesus said that we should do our good works privately, not for public consumption or praise. We are to do our good works so that God gets the glory. It is by our works that people can see if we are wise or not! When Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, needed wisdom on how to deal with the people’s request for lower taxes and leniency, he first consulted with the older counselors and then his young friends. he took the advice of his young friends…and the Kingdom was divided.

A business advisor giving you advice on money who does not have years of experience behind him (his own or working with those that guide him) is just as likely to give bad advice. Dave Ramsey, however, I would listen to!

Don’t try to be a teacher before your time. Take the time to let your works praise you and then others can listen to you.

Speaking consistently

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.  (Jas 3:8-12)

Perhaps this should be a warning to us. I honestly have to ask if it the case that man cannot tame the tongue or chooses not to tame the tongue. It probably makes little difference in the long run; the fact is that we need to bring even the tongue under control and by doing so, we bring ourselves under control.

God’s word offers us many instructions on the proper use of the tongue. We, of course, have to be willing to put it into practice. Again, we see the need to have action in our walk of faith. We need to bring the “want to” into line with The Faith. “So speak and so act as those to be judged by a law of liberty.” (James 2:12) 

That the tongue is full of poison and can cause lots of destruction was discussed in the last post. In this one, James gives us an example of the characteristics that the tongue has: Inconsistency, hypocrisy and even a lack of love.

Here James gives us an example of a great truth: You cannot Love God if you do not love your neighbor. This time he shows it by the improper use of the tongue. Who is your fellow man? A soul created in the image of God. In the case of those who are Christians, he is a saved soul and an heir of the promises of God (2:5), in the case of the unsaved; he is a lost soul in need of the Gospel (words of Good news-not curses).

James is astonished. All this comes from the same mouth: Blessings and Cursings? A question you might hear asked after a profanity laced tirade is “Do you kiss your wife with that mouth?” or something like it.  James says these things “ought not” to be.  “Ought” carries with it idea of moral requirements.  Phrases like ‘speaking out of both sides of your mouth” or “forked tongue” all hold the idea of a tongue that says one thing one time and different the next time.

from wikipedia

Even nature shows this principle. In Ashland, Oregon there is a park called Lithia. There are drinking fountains there that tap into the sulfur/mineral water at Lithia Park.  When I lived there during my 3rd grade school year, I would go there for a drink (it was a novelty) and the water was always awful. Every time I tried it, it tasted the same-an awful mineral taste.  It never changed. You couldn’t go one day and get sweet refreshing cool water and the next day rancid, sulfur tasting water.

After 20 years, I went back for a visit. I went to try the water (the inner child calling I suppose) and guess what? It was just as awful. It hadn’t changed. In the same manner, you don’t go out to the grape vines and pick figs, nor collect olives off of a fig tree.

What God has created has a purpose. The tongue was created by God and has a purpose too.  When used for its purpose God receives Glory. Things that are good to do with the tongue are praise God, bless others, encourage others and speak words of grace seasoned with salt. Speaking truth in love is what we are supposed to do. We are to speak in the name of the Lord, speak forth the oracles of God.

When things are not used for the purpose God made them problem result. In the case of the tongue, we have corrupted it’s purpose. We ought not to turn what God has meant to be used for good into a tool for tearing people down: Gossips, slanders, curses, words that tear down and don’t build up. Paul tells us 

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,”  (Col 3:8-9)

Question: Since James started out this chapter by talking about teachers, how does this section of tongue use apply to them?

The tongue is a fire

 How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and 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.  (Jas 3:5-8)  

Forest fires are started with very small fires. It doesn’t take a lot to ignite fuel that is there and in some cases fuel is not prone to burn. Fire is an interesting entity.  I do not have the experience of being a fire fighter but I am told that fire creates its own weather. Things change inside of a fire and even once it appears to be out, it can flair up again.  

Understanding that it doesn’t take much to get a forest fire going helps us understand James’ metaphor (or is it an “analogy”) that the tongue is a fire. The ability of the tongue to set ablaze a great ‘forest’ is not one that we have to much doubt about. Experience itself, will confirm by the time you are 12 that if you use your tongue for gossip or slander that you can create a whole world of hurt, not just for yourself but for others.  

Gossip can stir up many problems and even separate the best of friends. (Prov 16:28) Those that gossip become involved in saying things that they ought not to say. (I tim 5:13) The trouble with Gossip is that it is so hard to define. “But it’s true!” says the Gossip. However, “true” doesn’t make it “not gossip” nor does it make it tame. Great problems are caused that way.  

James says the tongue is a world of unrighteousness. A “world” of unrighteousness! Think about that. In Matthew 15:18-20 shows us that the mouth pulls things out of our heart. That heart, is ours, no one can ‘see’ it (save God) and within that heart exist all sorts of things: evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. That is quite a list!  If it is true that each mind is a world, then James has just said ours is full of unrighteousness.  

I should note that I don’t think that James is saying that our world is totally filled with unrighteous, obviously being washing in Christ sanctifies us, but as we all know, the temptations still continue, originating from our own desires and we better not use our tongue to say “God is tempting me.”  (1:13f) It is when the tongue is not managed that we create the largest problems.  

James also says that the tongue is set on fire by Hell. I think James is using this, also as a metaphor for the temptations that we face; temptations that we properly associate with demons.  How many times have we spoken out of wrath or envy or pride? More times than I care to count!  

Controlling the tongue is not an easy thing to do. In fact, we have better luck taming wild animals that can tear us limb from limb than we do the tongue which can cut a person to shreds in a moment! Once said, it can’t be taken back. The poison that a tongue can unleash will spread and not only creates enemies but destroys friendships.

 When I think about the tongue of man, I can’t help but compare it to the tongue of God. God spoke and the world came into existence. Our words also create a world. When you speak well to friends, spouses, family your world is at peace, when you don’t…Well, we have all seen THAT family!  

Question: In regards to Gossip, does anyone have a good definition that they like?

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