Last night I had a very strange dream. My children were small and I was saying some odd and off-color things that were not what I would ever normally say to them. A friend and her husband were in the dream. They heard me say these things. I knew it and felt ashamed. They then watched my children and I felt sorrowful and embarrassed. I woke up and asked the Lord what it meant. Shortly after, He impressed on me to go to the scripture in James chapter three. Offhand, I did not know what scripture that was. When I read it, I saw clearly that it went exactly along with my dream. I knew it was the word for our group today (which I had asked God to give me) and I knew to share it. First though, I always apply these words to myself. I hope they encourage you as much as they did me.
People do look at us and watch us, and they pay attention to what we say. That is one reason our words matter so much. Our witness is judged by our words and behavior. I know we all want to honor God.
Yes, our witness is judged by our words and behavior. We can be a light. This scripture from James is nourishment for us today:
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3 (NIV)
The Words of My Mouth