Bible Reading: James 3
Have you ever dealt with a ‘little big’ thing?
Maybe a little, but big detail? Like when you didn’t read the instructions before starting a three-hour essay examination, and it was somewhere towards the end that you noticed that you were to attempt ‘either question 1 or 2, and 3 or 4’, not any two questions. And here you are, having spent all your time on question 1 and 2… Little, but big.
Or a little, but big person? (Let’s not go there!)
Or a little, but big moment? Like the moment you summoned the courage to ask her out- it probably didn’t take more than a minute or two, but it became a reference point for the rest of your life.
Or you walked into your children’s school and saw a notice:
“It’s time to eat, children!”
But in your hurry and panic didn’t notice the little coma…
It’s this ‘little, but big’ space that James steps into in our reading today.
And essentially, James is encouraging us not to undermine or overlook the little but big things. They may come across as little details, but we must see them in the light of their impact on the big scale.
How important is your little tongue to what your life is becoming? Absolutely important, James argues! Do you realize you will be a perfect person if your words are perfect? (v 2)
But do we treat it as such? James brings in the idea of ‘taming’ the tongue! (v 8)
Think about all the areas of your life you have plans for this year: plans to be more profitable in business, plans to marry right, plans for your children, plans on how to improve our people skills, plans for extra certifications, plans for career development, and all that- but how about plans on how to tame my tongue?
If this is actually so crucial an area of my life, should I simply leave it to chance and see how things go? Shouldn’t I be thinking and training myself towards more wholesome words?
Elsewhere, Paul writes these powerful words to his son, Timothy:
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:13 NKJV
What’s your pattern of words? Are they sound and wholesome? Are they filled with negativity and fear? Are they spontaneous? Are they the words of a victim or a victor?
Paul would say to you, ‘find a sound pattern, and then hold fast to it’.
Would you make that a strong desire and pursuit this year?
What steps can you be taking towards a sound pattern of words? And how can you ‘hold fast’ to it?
The Psalmist prays in Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. (NKJV)
That’s a man who knows how powerfully his words weigh before God.
For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:2, 8 NET