Our Words

Saturday, November 15, 2014, 12:15 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 3 (ESV).

We All Stumble

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 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. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

The song “For Our Nation” is not the song I would have chosen to go with this passage on the tongue, yet that is the song the Lord Jesus put in my mind. As I contemplated the words to this song prayerfully, though, I realized that the song was speaking of deceit and betrayal, and this passage is speaking about teachers being judged more strictly. So, I believe I am to look at this idea of teachers being judged with greater strictness, in relation to the words that we speak, and in relation to these specific areas of deceit and betrayal.

Yet, first of all I believe there is encouragement in this passage for all of us, but specifically for us who teach. We all stumble in many ways. In other words, not one of us is perfect. This fact, nonetheless, should never be used as an excuse for continued and willful sin or to lead us to believe that if we do sin that it is no biggie. We don’t need to walk around like there is a hammer hanging over our heads, but we should take sin seriously, and we should daily be yielding our lives over to our Lord, resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God in surrender to his perfect will for our lives – all in the working of his Spirit. Yet, when we do sin we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over it, but we should confess it to God, and we should yield to the Spirit in allowing the Lord Jesus to mature us and to grow us in the areas of the use of the tongue where we still need to be under the control of the Spirit.

Now, to the matter of Christian teachers of the word being judged more strictly, I am not certain at all what that means other than we have a greater responsibility before God and before humanity to make certain that we guard our words well in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate with the Spirit’s work. The reason for this, I believe, is because we are in a position of influencing others, so we must make certain of what we are teaching, that it is truth, as well as we must set a godly example in the control of our tongues, so that we live what we say we believe, though not one of us will do it perfectly.

Yet, since no one is perfect, and we all stumble, we should be all the more diligent in the matter of bringing our words into submission to the Spirit of God. We must also make certain that we use our tongues wisely, that we maintain purity and integrity in our speech, that we are respectful and kind to others, that we are not gossipers and slanderers, and that we don’t participate in ungodly speech that would end up discrediting our testimonies for Christ and for his gospel, i.e. which might bring the gospel into disrepute.

The Tongue is A Fire

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

So, what does it mean to bless God? It means to speak well of him; and to thank and praise him. To bless humans might be similar, and it also may mean to desire wellness for them or for something good to happen to them, or it might mean just to thank them. Then, what does it mean to curse humans? It means to wish or to cause harm to somebody or to wish evil, misfortune or trouble on somebody, which is the opposite of blessing. It can also mean to make cutting and hateful remarks about or to someone, as with an evil intent, perhaps as a means of getting even with them and/or in order to bring harm to their reputations. Our tongues can be used for good, or they can be used for evil. As followers of Christ, we should not be doing both.

In the same (or similar) respect, returning again to this idea of teachers being judged more strictly, there are many people who claim to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ who have both truth and lies coming out of their mouths. Some things they teach are truthful, and yet other things they teach are obviously full of lies, deceit and betrayal. And, they cleverly blend the two together to make it all sound like truth. Satan is the author of this confusion, for he disguises himself as an angel of light looking to deceive the unsuspecting minds of naïve people who easily trust whatever they hear without checking it out against the Word of God to see if it is truth or not. He counts on many people just believing what they hear, and not taking the time to search it out to see if it is true. Lies and truths can be so intertwined together that they seem like truth, when truly the intention is to deceive.

To the degree that this is taking place in American churches is astounding! God has been making me so ever aware of these clever lies mingled with truth coming out of the mouths of believers in Christ (or professing Christians) who are teaching and influencing people here by the masses. And, it breaks my heart, not only to witness this, but to see so many people just blindly following these leaders without testing what they hear against the Word of God through careful and diligent prayer and Bible study. It is everywhere! So few preachers or teachers teach what is in accord with sound doctrine these days. So few teachers of the Word are teaching the unadulterated gospel message. So many are making compromises with the world and are giving out feel-good messages meant to please the itching ears of their listeners. So many ministers of the gospel are following a humanistic philosophy for growing their churches, which is more human-focused than it is God-focused.

An example of this can be read here – http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/steve_mcveys_corruption_of_grace.html - although this is only a sampling of what is going on in today’s evangelical church. We need to pray for the church, because there is so much deception going on now within the church, and the people need to be awakened to the truth.

Meekness of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

What comes out of our mouths is really a heart issue. Scripture teaches us that what comes out of our mouths comes from what is stored up in our hearts. If we want to bring what we say under control, we must first of all examine our hearts and our attitudes. When we say unkind or cutting and hurtful remarks to others, it comes from what is stored up in our hearts. So, there must be something there that needs to be removed or else we wouldn’t have all this ugliness coming forth from our lips. For instance, if we are being selfish, we might get angry with people who get in our way or who somehow hinder us from doing what we want when we want it. We also might have outbursts of anger toward others if they do not meet our expectations for what we (in our flesh) think they should do. If we are prideful, we might get angry with people who challenge us. So, we need to be honest in evaluating our own hearts and attitudes, and we need to get rid of what is ungodly and of the devil, and we need to yield to the Spirit’s control in all areas of our lives.

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.