3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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. 5Likewise 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. 6 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. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
The words that come out of our mouth give us insight into how much we are allowing God to reshape us from the inside out.
The Book of James is about faith. But it is not about “saving faith.” It is about the role faith plays in the life of a person who is already a believer.
A believer’s character, attitudes, emotional responses, behavior and priorities are all reshaped by faith. James tells us that those who have been saved by grace and brought into the family of God show that new status in how they live - we are new creatures, the old has gone and we live in a different way.
After telling us that our faith in God must find expression in our lifestyle as well as our beliefs James now talks about some of the challenges that this life of faith has. Practical problems too, ordinary problems. Taming the tongue for instance.
It’s so easy for us to slip and to criticize or say something cutting about our brother. It’s so tempting to gossip. The person who has his or her tongue under control has definitely matured in the life of faith.
Lord I present my body as a living sacrifice to you. Thank you for saving me and now I worship you with my life. I do not want to conform any longer to the old way of life I lived in before you saved me, instead I ask that your Holy Spirit continually remold my life from the inside out so that my outward actions represent my ongoing maturity in my faith.