Source of Self Control: James 3:5-12.

May 14th, 2009

James 3:5-12.

 3:5.  Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
 3:6.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
 3:7.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
 3:8.  But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
 3:9.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
 3:10.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
 3:11.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
 3:12.  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.

Source of Self Control

In the previous couple of verses, James talks of about the need for self control. It is important for a Christian to be in full control of our entire being. He offered hope by saying that all it takes is such a small thing, like the bit in a horse's mouth, or the rudder on a ship. Now, he shares the secret to self control for humans. The tongue.

As long as we keep our tongue in control, we have mastered the secret to having self control over all aspects ofour life. Such a simple concept. Such a hard thing to do.

The tongue, or the language that we use is the main source of how people know us. James compares the tongue to a flame that starts a forrest fire. It is a world of iniquity. Iniquity means to break the law, or do a legal injustice.

We can tame beasts, and train everything from dogs to dancing bears, but the tongue often remains wild. James declares that it was set on fire by the grave, or death, and is a single source for spouting off both blessings and cursing, bitter and sweet.

How often do we find ourselves in a surprise situation, and a few words, or an exclamation is said in the heat of the moment. The reaction is to realize the mistake too late and say, "Oops, that just slipped out." Controlling the tongue is an easy idea to know about, but forcing it to behave takes time, effort, learning new behaviors, learning a new set of words. It takes making a conscious, and deliberate effort to practice new ways. Learn to say positive things about people, even when it is easy to criticise or tear down. If you tell a child, "No, don't do that." It may or may not be affective. They may stop, but now those idle hands find some other thing to do and be told no. A good positive practice would be to say something like, "We don't jump on the furniture. Play with your toys instead." The bad behavior can be identified, and a suggested good behavior now takes its place.

When world pressure is on and exclamations just seem to pop off the tongue before any control can kick in, find new words that can be exchanged for ones that go against a good Christian witness, There's nothing wrong with letting out a burst of exclamation. Exclamations are verbal reactions, much the same as instantly pulling your hand away from the hot oven door. That instant reaction removes our hand from the more serious damage it would receive if it were left in contact with the heat. A verbal exclamation is a sudden release valve of words, to tap off emotional pressure. mentally practice, find words that won't make you ashamed later.

Learn, and strive to be more consistent in a Christ like way of life. Even the most tame of beasts, is still a beast. It can have a lapse and attack the one who trained it. Even the best of Christians might have a relapse into that old behavior. It is an ongoing battle. As a follower of Christ, make the effort to demonstrate his ways, starting with the power of the tongue.

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