True Christians have their citizenship in heaven and represent/speak on behalf of the Almighty God of the universe. So God wants to teach them to speak like Him.
Many true Christians make mistakes, and “if anyone makes no mistakes in what he says, he is a perfect man able to bridle the whole body also” (Jam. 3:2, RSV). We all make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean these should be our way of life. If each Christian is able to bridle his body, then Christ can rule over the entire spiritual body.
“Behold we put bits in the horses’ mouths that they may obey us: and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whitsoever the governor listeth” (Jam. 3:3-4).
That’s no mean feat. Ships can be guided through waves and storms with a little rudder. Our tongue expresses what is in our mind, and if we can just control our tongue, we can guide our whole being and demonstrate a great deal of character.
Also, a metal bit is put in a horse’s mouth to guide it. Each true Christian must also be guided by a spiritual “bit” in their mouth to be fully guided by God.
“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles. And the tongue is a fire, a world of inequity, so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and even sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (verses 5-6).
Why is it so important that we learn the right use of our tongue? God says just by the use of our tongue we can talk ourselves right into gehenna fire! We need the mind of Christ to direct everything we say. Jesus Christ continually spoke uplifting words while on earth. We can do the same if we are guided by His mind.
Sin Of Angels
The opposite course ends horrendously. When Lucifer rebelled against God, he thought he had a better plan than God, and lost everything – as did all the angels who followed him. Satan is now the father of liars, doomed to an eternal nightmare. He will be locked away forever in an eternal abyss – in the blackness of darkness.
Satan is now working feverishly on the minds of all inhabitants of the earth. Because of him, man doesn’t control his tongue and he has turned his world into tohu and bohu. It is ruled by deceitful and desperately wicked human hearts (Jer. 17:9).
James teaches us about the tongue as no book in the Bible does. Those without the mind of Christ express the thoughts of their own hearts. Those guided by Christ express the thoughts of Christ’s mind (Phil. 2:5). However good or bad, the tongue expresses what is on the mind. That is why scriptures forcefully remind us that the tongue cannot be tamed by man (Jam. 3:7-8). Only God can do that.
Likeness of God
Do you realize you are made in the likeness of God (Jam. 3:9). Yet out of our mouth proceeds both blessings and cursings, which should not be (verse 10). Do we bless God but don’t talk like Him? Loving to say “praise God’ and then committing cruel acts or violence to God’s word (such as annulling the commandments), is like bitter and sweet water coming from the same mountain. God will have none of that! If true Christians are Ambassadors to Christ and speak for Him, then they have to talk like Him – like the Bible – with speech grounded in God’s word. It is simply incongruous to receive bitter and sweet water from the same fountain (verses 11-12).
We also have a mind with which to think, unlike the animals. – in order to develop the mind, or image, of God. That is a towering truth. Animals don’t look like God, but man does, and he was created with a mind the animals do not posses. That is to develop the mind, or image, of God. But to achieve that potential, we have to learn to control the tongue by allowing God’s Holy Spirit to produce pure thoughts in our mind.
Out of the same mouth proceeds blessings and cursings. My brethren these things ought not so to be (verse 10)
Wisdom comes from above
Bitterness, envying and strife are against the truth of God (Jam. 3:14-15). Here are seven outgrowths of godly wisdom, as outlined in the Bible. Wisdom is:
- Easy to be entreated
- Full of mercy and good fruits
- Without partiality
- Without hypocrisy
This is probably the best definition of wisdom to be found anywhere. Do we have pure motives when working with others? Do we make peace easily with others? What about gentleness or being easy to be entreated (persuaded)? Are we full of mercy and good fruits, showing no partiality or hypocrisy? What others see is what they get in a true Christian.
It requires wisdom to present yourself as someone trying to grow and improve, yet at the same time not pretending to be someone you are not! If we lack wisdom, the Bible says to ask God and He will give it to us.