Difficult to Tame – James 3:2-13

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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A story was related to me about a young man from an affluent family. He told his father that he wanted a particular new car as a graduation present. When that day arrived, his father presented him with a new Bible. Angrily the son said insulting things and told his father that was not what he wanted, nor what he asked for. He was so angry that he had nothing to do with his father for years. At the reading of the will, he learned the car he had asked for was purchased before his graduation and parked in the father’s garage. The key was in the Bible he had been given. In his deep regret, he wished he had not spoken so poorly to his father and had maintained that relationship.

The problem of saying foul things is a consistent part of human nature that exists in every dispensation. James describes it this way: “But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). In truth, there is often little difference in the way believers and unbelievers talk. But there should be! James addressed the misuse of our tongues saying: “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men…Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 2:9-10). We instinctively know that we should clean up our language after salvation for testimony sake and out of gratitude for eternal life. Our standard should be: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to…edifying” (Ephesians 4:29). James adds: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). The word “vain” means empty. If our language as a believer is corrupt, it demonstrates emptiness in our walk with the Lord. We need to consciously seek the Lord’s strength to control what we say. Beyond gratitude to the Lord, and for testimony sake, one further motivation to maintain wholesome speech is to avoid unnecessary problems. Peter stated: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (I Peter 3:10).

We should all allow God to speak to our hearts about this matter and pray as David did: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth…” (Psalm 141:3).

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."