Tuesday, March 13, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 21 ~ Salty Tongues

Day 21 ~ Salty Tongues 
James 3:9-12  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Hypocrisy is one of the major criticisms leveled by those outside of the church against us Christians .  There may be a great deal of truth to that criticism.  A hypocrite is a person who claims to have some great belief or virtue but then lives in such a way that is out of sync with the claimed beliefs.  That is to say they talk the talk but don't walk the walk.  There are many Christians in our world who are just this way.

Today James warns us against such hypocrisy.  The mouth that is found singing God's praises in the worship service should not be the same mouth that is gossiping about their brothers or sisters in the fellowship hall.  The mouth that praises God for His beautiful creation should not be the mouth insulting God's creatures.  The mouth that cries out for forgiveness should not be the mouth cursing fellow sinners.  Fresh water and salt water cannot flow from the same stream.

The words we use in worship (the liturgy) should actually be shaping the way we talk.  If we believe the confession of sins to be true then no one will be able to claim we are hypocrites.  Why?  Because when they see us sin, we can freely confess that it is because we are sinners, probably worse than they are.  We can say that confidently because we know what our God does with sinners: He forgives them us the absolution.  When we hear that our God forgives us for the sake of Christ, it shapes the way we treat those who sin against us.  As beggars fed with the body and blood of Christ, we are led to give of ourselves to others.  The words we hear and pray in worship are like a fountain of fresh water that is continuously poured into our hearts that overflows into the way we live our lives.

Confession:  Heavenly Father, again I find myself confessing my sins to you.  Though my confession demonstrates my sinful weakness, my life is a poor effort to prove how strong I am.  I live to exalt my own righteousness and I am not humble in word or deed before my neighbors.  Forgive me.  May your Word of grace in Jesus shape the way I live and speak.  AMEN.

Challenge:  Go out of your way to complement three people today.

Pastor Bob

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