James 3:2: “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
When I was a kid, I did not have the cleanest, most wholesome mouth. I grew up with a lot of kids around, most of whom did not attend church. They picked up colorful language and were all too eager to share it with me. I still remember the first time I cursed in front of my mother. I had dropped something coming up the stairs and let it fly. My parents kept special soap by the sink for precisely this purpose. It was not the good soap we have today that has essential oils and smells nice. This was lava soap. It was gritty, sandy, and disgusting. I was a frequent taster of that soap.
The Bible uses many words to describe our tongue: wicked, deceitful, perverse, filthy, corrupt, flattering, gossiping (“Spiritual Concern”), blasphemous, foolish, boasting, complaining, cursing, contentious, sensual, and vile.
One of the main themes in the book of James is maturity. We see our faith being tested and stretched and pulled in all sorts of directions. The tongue is a potent tool. Some have joked that there is a reason our tongue is behind bars (our teeth) and locked in a cage (our mouth).
We all stumble in many ways. Nobody is perfect. This means to trip up, miss a step, or hinder your walk toward and with the Lord.
This verse has profound implications. Our tongue sets the course for our lives! Over the next several blog posts, we are going to see how James describes the use of the tongue with several powerful word pictures: bits in horse’s mouths, rudders on boats, fires in a forest, and so on.
Some questions to consider:
-How careful are you with your speech?
-When was the last time your words hurt someone? Encouraged someone?
-How does your language reflect that you are a Christ-follower?
-Would people know you are a Christian based solely upon your words?
-How is your language hindering your walk with Jesus?