For the last few weeks God has been speaking to me through my pastor’s sermons. It’s been great. I love it when that happens. Anyway, God has been speaking to me about the way I communicate with people. I don’t talk a lot, but when I do I sometimes say the wrong thing, things that are unseemly. Bottom line, I just don’t always speak with Godly wisdom. These days, people aren’t very serious. We don’t always know if someone is joking or not. It’s hard to find a genuine person who will talk straight. What I’m getting at is I tend to follow the world; that is, I tend to try to impress people with a joking attitude, even when the situation doesn’t call for it; or sometimes I’m too blunt and insensitive. From my study of James I’m thinking that my heart is not right—because words come from the heart. You guessed it; the sermons have been from James. I think I’ll just go through the verses, a few at a time, and give my comments.
James 3:6-8. Here James describes how our tongue can be used for much evil and corruption; and no man can tame it. That’s very true. We really have to be careful what we say. If the devil wants to use us to stir up trouble and cause division, even among Christians, he will try to use our tongue.
James 3:9-12. Our tongue being evil, is capable of great deception. For example, on Sunday a man may speak wonderful blessings to God in his prayers and songs; then Monday through Saturday the same man will be heard cursing and fighting with his neighbors. James says, “These things ought not to be.” In fact, this is impossible. One who curses man cannot really omit blessing to God. That blessing must be fake. A heart that curses men cannot bless God at the same time. One example given is of a fruit tree. A fig tree does not also bear olives. Thus because our speech comes from our heart, whatever the condition the heart is, that is what it will produce. If the heart is bad, the speech will be bad; if the heart is good (being made new by the Holy Spirit) the speech will be good, and we will naturally bless others. Jesus said in Luke 6:43-45,
A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. NKJV
I think that last line gives us a clue as to what makes us say the things we do. It says, “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Therefore, we utter words when our heart is filled up with thoughts. The overflow of thoughts in our heart will come out as our words. It’s the same thing that happens with a fruit tree. When the tree has enough nourishment to help it grow and survive, then whatever nourishment comes next will be used to produce fruit.
And whatever we put into our heart and mind through the ear and the eye gate, it will eventually come out of our mouth—when our heart is full.
But can’t we put into our mind both good things and bad things, and so speak both good and bad? Evidently not. Jesus seems to say that either the heart is good or bad. Well let’s return to James and hopefully we will get an answer to that.
James 3:13-18. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but, as I see it there are two kinds of wisdom a person fills his mind with: earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. Evidently there is no in between. Earthly wisdom is filled with envy, bitterness, lying, self-seeking, and is sensual and demonic; and where these things exist (in the heart) there is much confusion and evil. Heavenly wisdom, on the other hand is pure, peaceable, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
That last term says a lot to me—without hypocrisy. The guy with the bad heart was a hypocrite. He was the guy who pretended to bless God while all the while he was cursing his neighbors. He was not a real Christian was he? He was faking it. And what we need to know is that it is impossible for anyone who has a bad heart to produce good, truthful, unhypocritical speech. It can’t be done.
So somehow the heart has to be made new. That’s the solution—which is found in the next section.
James 4:1-10. All the trouble we have, all our wars and fighting, our lust, murder, and adultery comes from our members—that is, from inside of us, from our heart, or from our nature. And our evil nature naturally makes friends with the world, which is also evil. So this is the problem: we have an evil nature and we live in an evil world.
But verse 6 says, “But He gives more grace.” God’s grace is our solution. By His grace our heart can be make new. But how do we receive His grace? The answer is in the very next phrase:
God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.
Our answer all this time is found in this word humility. And the root of our sin problem is found in the word pride. Try as you may, you will find no sin that does not stem from pride. And the fact that you may be denying it right now is proof. Your denial is pride itself. And you will get no where until you admit your pride; for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Now don’t think that there is any key to being humble. The only way to be humble is to decide to humble your self and submit to God. It is a decision of your will. But when you decide to make that decision, than God will act on your behalf. He will give you a new heart like His and you will be made new.
If you are not even a Christian this is the way to start your Christian life. And if you are a Christian but have been living in sin, this is also the way for you to get a new start.
As for me, I have to keep reminding myself that my problem is within. I will continually seek God, asking Him to reveal any sin in my heart, and asking Him to give me His wisdom.