James 3:2

The words from your mouth reveal your spiritual maturity level. I am not talking about how many Christian slogans and catch-phrases you toss into every conversation to impress others with how deep you are. I mean the kingdom truths you speak that reflect the God in you.  

During our last study together, we examined the truths of James 3:1 and found that those who said God called them to the office of “teacher” will be judged by God Himself by a higher standard. Also, we concluded that we all teach daily – not just as ministers of God, but in our capacity of parent, neighbor, friend, etc. Therefore, we all should watch what we say. How relevant for today.

If you thought James 3:1 was relevant, James 3:2 is a real eye-opener. Read the Amplified Bible version slowly:

For we all stumble and sin in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says [never saying the wrong thing], he is a perfect man [fully developed in character, without serious flaws], able to bridle his whole body and rein in his entire nature [taming his human faults and weaknesses].

Wow! EVERYBODY says the wrong thing sooner or later. No pastor, teacher, evangelistic, prophet, parent, neighbor, friend, co-worker says the correct thing ALL OF THE TIME!  They do not mean to miss the mark verbally. Sometimes, it is lack of knowledge. Sometimes, it is what they meant to say but it was not said in the most appropriate way. Sometimes, their humanity burst forth and they revealed their emotions rather than the Word of God, later deeply regretting the fruit of their lips. 

Scholars and pastors have much to say about this verse:

  • Dr. Tony Evans wrote about the tongue: “It’s like a master switch. Take command of it, and you have the potential for bringing your spiritual life under control.”
  • Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe: “Is James making a mistake by connecting committing sins of the tongue with sins committed by “the whole body”? No, because words usually lead to deeds.  During World War II we were accustomed to seeing posters that read LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS! But loose lips also wreck lives. A person makes an unguarded statement and suddenly finds himself involved in a fight. His tongue has forced the rest of his body to defend itself.”
  • Dr. Daniel M. Doriani – “Even gifts of the tongues are dangerous. The persuasive tongue can convince ordinary people of almost anything. What self-control it takes to wield that tool – that weapon – to bless others and not to seek selfish gain.”

My mama (who was not a scholar or a pastor) used to say, “Don’t let your mouth make a bill your behind cannot pay.” Selah!

If you will not believe the scholars, pastors, or my mama that the words you say are impactful and reveal your spiritual maturity level, hear Jesus:

36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37. NIV.

I want to glorify My Heavenly Father and my Savior in word and deed. I want to bless and uplift others with my words and not harm them in any way. My goal is to be more like the Christian James wrote about who is “[fully developed in character, without serious flaws], able to bridle his whole body and rein in his entire nature [taming his human faults and weaknesses]” (James 3:2b). I am not perfect (none of us are), but I intend to keep growing spiritually and be mindful of the words I speak. Help me, Holy Ghost!

 Consider the truth of this poem from an Anonymous poet:

A careless word may kindle strife;

A cruel word may wreck a life.

A bitter word may hate instill;

A brutal word may smite and kill. 

A gracious word may smooth the way;

A joyous word may light the day.

A timely word may lessen stress;

A loving word may heal and bless.

Question: What does James 3:2 mean to you? Join the conversation. Talk to me. Share your wisdom and insights with the other blog readers and subscribers.