Keeping control of what comes out of your mouth is one of the hardest parts of living the holy life!
James uses three illustrations to make the point:
- A horse needs a bit in its mouth to allow the reins to bring it under control;
- A ship has a tiny rudder to steer the whole ship;
- A forest fire is started by a tiny flame.
Each one shows us that the tongue might be tiny but what it does can bring a lot of good or a lot of harm. Jesus said that what comes out of our mouths is an overflow of what is in our hearts – James says the same in v.11 – does a spring bring both fresh and salt water? Does a fig tree bear olives or a vine, figs?
Get wisdom therefore from above, because that kind of wisdom isn’t jealous or selfish. Filling our hearts with godly wisdom will change how our mouths speak and that will bring mercy, good fruit and sincerity. And it will bring a harvest too. The harvest comes as we speak words of encouragement and the ‘good news’ to others.
Marinate on that.