October 26, 2009

James 3

Sorry for the delayed post...here is week 3 of our 5 week study through James. Feel free to share any thoughts, questions or comments.

James 3

Vs 1-2 "Teachers": in James' day there was a lot of respect and authority that came with being a teacher, especially one who taught of spiritual things. Because of this, some people were striving to be teachers that should not be teachers and that is the reason that James tells many of us that we shouldn't presume to be teachers. This also goes along with him pointing out that teachers will be judged more strictly, similar to what Paul mentioned to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:1-3). This is one of the reasons I believe it is necessary for leaders to strive for a higher standard.

Vs 3-12 "Taming the Tongue": it is crazy to think about how small the tongue is and yet how big an impact it can make on our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with. Our words have the ability to inflict a considerable amount of damage, as a "small spark" can completely destroy a "great forest". Our words also have the power to bring about healing and reconciliation (Proverbs 15:1). I wonder how many of us have had the experience of having our words get us into a situation we never intended to be in or doing things we never thought we'd do. As James mentioned in vs 6, our words can set the "whole course of [our] life on fire". If only we would take James' advice his gives us in chapter one to be "quick to listen, slow to speak" (1:19). And the thought that we talk trash about people and praise God with the same mouth is something we need to take some time to think about, as we are reminded that "this should not be" (3:10). Do your words bring about healing or hurt?

Vs 13-18 "Two Kinds of Wisdom": we must determine if someone is wise by the life they lead and be reminded that the life we lead shows people where our wisdom comes from. There is heavenly wisdom or earthly "wisdom", they are quite different from one another and fairly easy to figure out which one people are living by, including ourselves. Heavenly wisdom has to do with things like humility, service, mercy, purity, peace, sincerity whereas earthly "wisdom" gets caught up in greed, envy, selfishness, and disorder. So, which wisdom are you choosing to live by? Sure, you and I respond by saying, "The heavenly kind!" but in reality, which one do our actions and words testify to? Have you ever had someone tell you they think you are wise? Why do you think they thought that?