One small spark is all it takes in the right conditions to set alight tinder. soon enough it can engulf branches and leaf litter. Before long you can have a full on forest fire where mature trees ignite into tongues of insatiable fire. All just from one tiny spark.
James was a younger brother of Jesus. James found himself transition from unbelief to believing that his older brother was the long awaited Jewish Messiah after seeing him die on a Roman cross and then meeting Jesus alive, just days later a risen Saviour (1 Corinthians 15:7).
James became the leader of the followers Jesus had in Jerusalem. This was a tough gig, but he did it well, and became well known. He was known as James the Just.
James in his letter to believers warned of another type of forest fire. This one though could be just as dangerous as the first could also cause widespread damage, though this is far harder to put out. In James 3:9 using the comparison of a forest fire, James alluded to our use of one of the most potent part of our body, the tongue.
How many times have we debased ourselves when we have said something out loud that we wish we could hit the rewind button on?
How many relationships have we all seen or experienced that has had to have some form of damage control all because of our or someone else's big mouth?
James warns us of how we can praise God with our mouth one minute, and destroy someone else who is made in God’s image the next with it.
What often comes out of peoples mouths is really a reflection on what is going on inside of their hearts. Does what come out of your mouth give life and encouragement to those around you? or is it a rotting rubbish bag of death and discouragement to those around you?
The words Jesus spoke to those around him gave life. To the poor he spoke of hope, to the sick he spoke of refreshment and healing, to the downtrodden he spoke life. To women he spoke words of elevation, to sinners he spoke of rescue and restoration. To the faithful he spoke words of encouragement, to the unfaithful he spoke words of encouragement also (John 21:17).
What comes out of your heart? Are you building those around you up or pulling down the framework of their lives?
Following Jesus requires us to be diligent in the way we use our tongue. Diligent that we use it to be life giving not life destroying.