Heavenly Father, I know I have sinned with my tongue. Please forgive me and grant me the humility that comes from wisdom. By your strength, help me to grow in wisdom from heaven and in peacemaking. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read James 3
James 3:1–12 How do you use your tongue? James wrote that our tongues are powerful; we can use them to praise God or curse those made in His image.
Those who use their tongues to teach must take special care because they will be judged by a greater standard. James writes his letter because false teachers had entered the church and were teaching “easy-believism”—that once a person was saved, his or her works no longer matter. Careless words by a teacher in the church can lead others into unrighteous living. What’s more, false teaching can destroy a church. As Christians, we must take care to use our words to build one another up and stay away from corrupting speech (see Eph. 4:29).
James 3:13–18 Good speech and good conduct come from a wise and understanding heart. Wisdom is from God and bears much fruit in the church. Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition lead to disorder and immorality in the church.
2 And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
- Examine your heart for jealousy and selfish ambition. What motivates you in your speech and conduct? Do you humbly and wisely seek peace and show mercy toward others in the church? Or are you more concerned with your reputation and how others treat you?
- What kind of speech builds others up in the faith? What’s the difference between that and flattery? Today or tomorrow, have a conversation with another believer with the intent of building that person up in the faith.
- Why is it so important for teachers to speak carefully and intentionally? What are some examples of careless or false speech from a teacher—maybe even from your own tongue?