James 3:1-5…1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 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.” A 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
3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 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. 5 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|