The Tongue Is a Fire –

James 3:1-51 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect [mature] man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

I believe the Word is saying we should not desire to become teachers for the wrong reasons, like prestige or pride. However all Disciples have a responsibility to teach the Word as commanded in the 3rd step of the Great Commission: teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” More often this can be one2one rather than in a class setting.

All Disciples sin as we go about our daily lives, but the mature Disciple will continually seek forgiveness and seek to grow a little closer to the image of Jesus every day. This person will be filled by the fruit of the Spirit including self-control B  and be able to control not only the tongue but the entire body and soul. C

Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

James uses the examples of horses, ships and forest fires as an illustration of a small thing being able to guide or incite a larger force. I spent 2 days and a night on a huge aircraft carrier and watched as it was controlled by a rudder small in comparison to its size.

A small uncontrolled tongue can set a large fire of trouble in a person’s life and in others; don’t let that be your tongue.

Notes: A- Matthew 28:20; B- Ephesians 5:18c CSB; C- Words are Important

Words are powerful. Proverbs 12:6,18; 15:4; 18:21; Ephesians 4:29
Words are a window into the heart. Matthew 12:34; James 1:26; 3:11-12
Controlling the tongue is key to a successful life. Proverbs 13:3; 21:23
God will hold us accountable for every careless word spoken. Matthew 12:36
We need God’s help to control the tongue. Psalm 19:14
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