Learn Self Control: James 3:1-4.

May 13th, 2009

James 3:1-4.
3:1.  My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
 3:2.  For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
 3:3.  Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
 3:4.  Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

Learn Self Control

The call of this passage is to be careful about being a teacher of the scriptures to others. To do so requires to be in full control of our lives. Being the teacher places a load of responsibility on that person. Being in charge can bring an amount of glory and honor, but when things go wrong the blame has to end with the person in charge.

James begins to allude to how to control a huge, powerful vessel, namely a horse, or a ship. There will be more on that topic in a later passage. For now, just consider how controlling a ship applies.

Not many of us should be teachers. On a ship there is only one captain, and for times when the captain is off duty, there are only a small amount of officers. Even a smaller amount of officers who have any direct control over steering the ship. Onboard that ship are probably hundreds of people. They all have their own jobs to do to make sure the ship keeps on sailing, but they can't all be captains. That would lead to confusion.

A sailor doesn't have to agree with the captain, just do what he says. The best a person can do is to take charge of the small task he is given. As each little, and often unrelated task gets done, the shipkeeps sailing and arrives in harbor. With all these individual jobs functioning under the unity of the captain, everybody benefits from the blessings. Should something go wrong, the crew is rarely to blame, but the captain always is.

As Christians, we should strive to do what God has called us to do. Act in faith to do that task, but as long as there is another who is teacher, or captain over us, follow in unity, rather than try to take that position for yourself. We all will benefit from that persons leadership, but if there are problems, it will be that person that will have to stand before God and answer for it.

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