What would James, the brother of Jesus, think about today’s social media? He’d be shocked. One person says something in an interview or, God forbid, the President typos or mispronounces something and Twitter and social media explodes with insults. Like all these people are perfect! If it wasn’t for the fact that I work in social media marketing, I’d stay off of it. Many a times, the Holy Spirit has held me back from typing a snarky response to someone’s post. I say to myself, “No, I’m not getting into that!” and I go do something else.
That’s what James is talking about in the next chapter of his letter to believers. Pay attention. It’s very pertinent today!
James Chapter 3
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 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. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.James 3:1-12
We know that a reputation can be ruined in seconds with today’s media. What James is saying here is very relevant today. We don’t just need to tame the tongue, but tame the tweet. Think before you comment with sarcasm, off-color jokes, boasts, etc.
If we use our mouths to praise God, we shouldn’t use our mouths to curse people either. That goes for our fingers, too! Don’t let the flesh control the tongue or the post. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. Paul wrote…
7For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Paul also wrote…
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
Self-control and self-discipline! Oh, Wow! We all could use heavy doses of those traits! And, guess what? All we need is to ask the Holy Spirit to help us! Continuing with James 3…
True Wisdom Comes from God
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.James 3:13-18 NLT
We need wisdom as much as we need self-control and self-discipline! Which brings me back to an important few verses in James 1…
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.James 1:5-8 NLT
What Does Divided Loyalty Mean?
Well, if you worship anything else but Jesus, that’s divided loyalty. If you worship Mary and the saints — pray to them, light candles to them, honor them in any way — that’s worshiping idols. If you worship your job or anything worldly — that’s also divided loyalty.
If you put Jesus first, God will answer your prayers. Jesus told us…
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33 NLT
How do you get the Holy Spirit?
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!