James #10 August, 2019
Perhaps you'd like to listen to podcast - click the link below:
Three years old, dressed in a soft pink leotard, she looked up and said, 'I love you, Mimi.' Oh wait, she always corrects me . . . Alyssa is three and a half years old! She melts me. 'Mimi, I love this Bible storybook you gave me!' (It has Veggie Tales' Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber on the cover.) Pictured here, Alyssa is 'reading' Noah's Ark to her baby brothers,
Lincoln and Logan, this past week when I was in North Carolina. I mean, what could be sweeter, right? Just before this, all three of them were lying on their bellies looking under the bed at a ball, trying to figure out how they would retrieve it. Alyssa sat back on her haunches, grabbed her new 'Bible' and said, 'Mimi, wait - I have to read my Bible to find out how to get that ball.' True story. Hang onto that thought for later.
But, then . . . not long after, when I asked her to try on the new dress I had made her, she flatly refused. Even my most persuasive voice did not move her; she pulled her shoulder away from me, turned her head, and half-cried/half shouted "NO! No, Mimi."
How can the same tongue issue forth such different words? Let's consider James' take on the power in the tongue. 'We all stumble in many ways' admitting none of us is perfect, especially when it comes to what comes out of our mouths. 'We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire... It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue... Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!' from James 3 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+3%3A2-12&version=NLT. And then, James spits out 'no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.' Dang, James.
Now, may I have your attention, pleeeease?
The tongue is a muscular organ in the human body - it has neither a brain nor a will, so how does it have all this power? Not surprisingly, Jesus gives us the answer. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.1 And Luke quotes Jesus as saying, The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.2
So where does the tongue get its power?
It has no power. It only utters what is in the heart and mind of its user.
Think, think, think: What comes out of your mouth? What kinds of things? ______________________________________________________________________________ What does that say about your heart? ______________________________________________________________________________
Take a little time to think about what comes out of your mouth; start listening to yourself. What does it say about the contents and condition of your heart? Do your words give life to others or do they set things on fire? Hmmm . . . Lord, search our hearts.
And as for Alyssa, my three and a half year old granddaughter? Isn't it great that her mommy and daddy have taught her that the Bible has the answers? God's Word has the answers for us too--for our hearts, minds, thoughts and words. Bipolar? O, your tongue does not have to be.
1 - from Matthew 12
2- from Luke 6