James has been talking about the importance of controlling the tongue. In yesterday’s verse, he used the analogy of the bits that are placed into the mouths of horses that are used to control their whole bodies. In today’s verse, he uses a second illustration…
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. (James 3:4)
The bit and rudder must both overcome strong forces. The bit must overcome the wild nature of the horse, and the rudder must overcome the wind and current that would drive the ship off course. If we want to be mature Christians, our tongue also must overcome strong forces: our old human nature on the inside (wild), and circumstances on the outside (wind).
To give proper direction, the bit and rudder must be under the control of a strong director. An expert horseman directs the bit, which in turn directs the horse, carrying out the will of the horseman. An experienced captain directs the rudder, which in turn directs the ship, carrying out the will of the captain. Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit living in us, needs to be directing our tongue, so that our tongue can direct others in a way that carries out the will of the Director. Jesus needs to be at the reins and at the wheel, but something else needs to take place before that will happen.
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! (Psalm 141:3)
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34b NIV)
Jesus will not be in control of our tongue until we have given Him control of our heart. The lips only say what comes out of the heart.
Whenever you speak, you are a director. The tongue has an incredible power to direct and affect the lives of others. We can direct people down a good path, or we can direct them toward destruction. How are you directing people with your tongue? Who is directing your tongue? Are you getting your direction from Jesus, and seeking to carry out His will?
Today’s Good News is that we have an amazing opportunity to direct people to Jesus 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.)
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