Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010

"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" James 3:3-11
Little things can make a big difference!
I remember a tiny o-ring worth a couple of dollars that caused the Challenger to explode and killed our brave shuttle astronauts.
It was the failure of a few tiny heat tiles that caused the Columbia to disintigrate upon reentry high above Texas. More of our finest men and women perished in that tragedy.
A cell phone is small enough to fit in the tiniest hand. It can be placed in a purse or hidden in a pocket and yet it has revoluntioned the world!
Years ago I bought a tiny ring with a little diamond on it and offered it to a beautiful woman. She accepted it and agreed to become my wife and changed my life! It was a little thing that made a huge difference!
In our text, James is warning and bemoaning the destruction caused by something as tiny as the tongue.
I bet you are familiar with someone who has created big damage with a few words from a tiny tongue. Maybe that someone is you.
Once the damage is done it is impossible to undo it.
Wild animals can be tamed. Large ships can be controlled with tiny rudders. But the tongue is almost impossible to control. Left uncontrolled the tongue is like a raging fire. Have you ever tried to put out a forest fire?
James' big point in this short portion of Scripture is a huge truth about a tiny thing that requires lots of attention - the tongue!
Little things can make a big difference.

July 13, 2010

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." James 3:1-2

Did you ever have a perfect teacher? I'm sure you would remember if you did!

I had some very good ones. Each of them impacted my life in significant ways. But I can't say I ever had a perfect teacher.

What would a perfect teacher look like? How would you know?

James comments on that. He says that a perfect teacher is one who never says the wrong thing and therefore, says the right things. If a person can control his tongue he will have his life under control.

You can trust someone like that! You can learn from someone like that!

And, his challenge is this: until you get your speech under control, don't aspire to teach. Teaching and leading is far too important to leave to immature amatuers. Teachers and leaders have tremendous influence and if they have not gained control over their toungue they will disgrace themselves, discredit the Gospel and do harm to others.

When I was a kid my mom always said, "What you say is what you are!"

James agree with that! If you say you are a leader or a teacher but if your speech and your conversations are negative, or untrue, or unkind, you will betray your immature heart.

Leaders lead by example and teacher's lessons are "caught" as they are taught. Words mean things and have powerful significance. Therefore, the words of a teacher must come out of a mature, consecrated, and learned heart. Until then, don't be in a big rush to teach.

How is your heart? How are your words and your speech? What are you willing to do to change?