Sunday, March 11, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 19 ~ It Only Takes a Spark

Day 19 ~ It Only Takes a Spark
James 3:2-6  We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his 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 person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
It doesn't take much to start a forest fire.  All you need is a small spark in the midst of some dry sticks and suddenly the whole area is aflame!  Living in Moorpark we are familiar with how quickly a fire can get started with only a small spark.  One must be very careful when lighting matches in a field!

James says that a loose tongue, though small, is much like a firecracker in the woods-it can quickly start a fire and do a lot of damage.  James is not just speaking of any old conversation, however.  He is speaking of words that are spoken about God.  False talk about God can cause big problems.  History has demonstrated this truth time and again.  Small misunderstandings about God become big heresies that damage the church. In the second commandment we are told, "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name" (Ex. 20:7).  To speak where God has not spoken or to misrepresent God with our words will cause all kinds of problems, not only for our faith, but for the faith of others.

When we speak of God we must speak of Him only where He has spoken.  God speaks to us in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, whom the Spirit reveals to us in Scripture.  To talk about God apart from Christ is to speak where God hasn't spoken.  It is to take God's name in vain.  But, oh, what a joyful Word we have to speak!  In Christ we speak of a God who loves, forgives, and saves.  We speak of a God who sacrifices Himself for the sins that were committed against Him.  We speak of love and reconciliation with God.  Such words flow with refreshing waters that douse any destructive flame of false teaching. Why would we want to talk about anything else?

Confession:  Gracious and almighty God, forgive me for my loose tongue.  I have not spoken of you faithfully and I have used your name for my own personal gain.  Because your Son, Jesus Christ, spoke words of forgiveness from the cross for my sake, have mercy on me.  Put your words in my mouth so that it would be filled with praise!  AMEN.

Challenge:  Memorize a psalm or a hymn in an effort to train your tongue to sing God's praises.  

Pastor Bob

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