This is Day #54 in our Journey in James called Faith in Action! There are 108 verses in James, which means we have reached the half-way point of our summer series. Today we begin Chapter 3, and a very important discussion on the power of the tongue…
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)
In the first 12 verses of Chapter 3, James will use 6 pictures to illustrate what the tongue is like: (1) Bit, (2) Rudder, (3) Fire, (4) Animal, (5) Spring, and (6) Fig Tree. But first, he has something to say about teaching.
Teaching is a great privilege, and it is also a great responsibility. God will hold us accountable for what we teach, and how we direct people to live. He will also hold us accountable for whether or not we practice what we preach.
The unsaved world will, also. Non-believers are watching us, looking for inconsistencies or hypocrisies they can point to and say, “Why would I want to be a Christian like that person?” Basically, they are looking for any excuse to reject our Saviour.
Why would James mention teaching at the beginning of a discussion about the tongue? Possibly because the tongue is the primary tool we use in teaching. When we teach we do a lot of talking. Think about how powerful the tongue is. In a casual conversation, it only takes one sentence of poorly-chosen words to do great damage to someone. Imagine the havoc we could wreak on a whole group of people in half an hour.
In our preaching, we preachers need to try and find the right balance of boldness and grace. We could preach sermons that would make the whole congregation leave the service feeling two inches tall, but what good would that do? We are to speak the truth and confront sin, but we should do it in a way that is uplifting – not tearing people down.
There are two things I don’t want to happen from this devotional. First, I don’t want you to be afraid to teach. If the Lord is tugging at your heart to teach a Sunday School class or lead a Bible Study, please be obedient to His leading. There is no perfect teacher except Jesus, so don’t think that you need to have all the answers. The Lord will teach you in your preparation each week, and you can pass that teaching on to others. Second, I don’t want you to think that teaching just happens on a formal level. Don’t think you can ignore this verse because you don’t preach from the pulpit or teach a class at church. Any time you share your God-given wisdom and insight with another person, you are teaching.
I believe that James is reminding us that words carry great power, so we should choose them wisely, especially when we are in a position to use those words to influence others.
Today’s Good News is that we have an opportunity to uplift others with our words.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.