Bible Reading: James 3.9-12
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. James 3.9-12
In this section of Scripture James continues to expand on the impact of the tongue. Conviction comes quickly if you allow what James describes to stir your memory and see where you are guilty of doing these very same things.
Inevitably, it happens on a Sunday morning. You wake up late, milk gets spilled, shoes can’t be found—frustrations mount. You load into the car as tensions grow; words are blurted out in frustration. Off you speed to church. After quickly ushering kids to their classes, you barely make it in before worship starts. The music changes your focus. With hands raised you belt out praises to God, enjoying the song and ignoring anything that came in the moments before.
James is talking about you in this passage. One moment you speak out of frustration to your spouse or child and ten minutes later you are singing to the Lord – “from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing” (3.10). This contradiction in our relationship with God—praising Him and cursing those created in His own image (3.9)—is hypocrisy, whether it happens on Sunday morning or earlier in the week.
Scripture is unimpressed by our excuses – “Oh, I know I lose my cool sometimes,” “I speak my mind; that’s how God made me,” “I didn’t really mean it.” James tells us to purify our speech. Nothing less is acceptable. There is no excuse for these impure habits in the church.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this seemingly impossible task. James is clear that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to tame the tongue. When we have failed, we must seek reconciliation. If we have done that, we can worship with a pure heart (Matthew 5:23-24).
Weekly Memory Verse: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.2 Corinthians 5.17