James Chapter 3:
“4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”
This verse creates a big impact with a simple idea: the little things in life usually can create big outcomes. Throughout the beginning of chapter 3 and on through verse 12 it is reiterated that we, as Christians, need to watch the way that we talk and interact with each other as well as others because those actions tend to create the biggest impact on our relationships.
This verse, and even this section, allows the reader to better understand the consequences and outcomes of what we say. It does this by simply comparing our tongues to various parts of something bigger. For example, our tongue is compared to the rudder on a ship, which is small yet it makes a large impact on the direction of the ship. The tongue is also compared to a small fire, which so often becomes a large blaze that sets destruction to an entire forest.
This example could also point to the fact that, like a small fire, our tongues could burn bridges of formers relationships, destroy current relations or help in the destruction of ourselves if we do not learn to control the way that the tongue is used. If a fire is misused, not used properly, or not properly extinguished than it could easily become a hassle to try to control, preventing these areas of destruction. In the same way, if we use our tongues to speak wickedly to people or about people than we are going to destroy a once meaningful relationship. At the same time, when we get into the habit of speaking wickedly and we never learn to control it than we tend to lose focus on the times that we may have crossed the line, therefore we destroy even more relationships.
I believe this topic is a topic that often comes up in church, yet it seems that it is usually concluded with a list of don’ts that are attached. It seems that we rarely take the time to discuss what we should say or how we should deal with conflicts and constructive criticism.
“4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people!”
This verse gives us a great insight on the battles that happen within our own personal lives. Often believers find themselves battling their desires and the holiness of God. Too often our desires do not initially line up with God’s desire for our lives. Therefore we are in a battle to fight off our unworthy desires to follow a perfect and Holy God.
As you can see in this passage we often covet something in our live that we do not obtain and because we are fighting to obtain what we covet, we end up creating more chaos within our own hearts and minds.
As we grow as Christians and as people, we begin to develop an idea of what we want and what we expect in our lives as we get older. Throughout this journey, we need to learn that our desires are wicked and we usually misuse our blessings that God has given us.
During our time in prayer we tend to ask God for developments in life and blessings, but too often our hearts are misdirected by our desires. We have yet to align our hearts and our desires to God’s word and will. When we ask God for these blessings, God is able to look into our hearts and determine the motivation of our hearts. Due to the fact that our hearts are misdirected, God chooses not to answer every prayer with the answer that we expect.
“7 submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Due to the fact that we are not aligned with the word of God, there are many things that we should do in order heal ourselves from our wicked desires. In order to become aligned with God’s will for our lives, we need to develop a relationship with God. The closer we grow with God, the further we will be from the Devil and the influence that he has on our thoughts and actions.
In order to truthfully further this relationship with God, we must submit ourselves to the word of God. This shows that only God can bring us closer. We can be healed and made new, but we need to surrender to God’s will for our lives, it is then that we will finally be made new.
Another part of submitting to God, we will be asked to leave our past behind. We cannot create a new life following God, without first letting go of the past that had already happened. Regardless of what we have done, or what has happened to us, we cannot move forward without letting go of the past.
“7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
There are so many things in this life that confines us and restricts us; sometimes it is difficult for us to learn to be patient when life gets stressful. Due to our culture of the ticking clock, we often find ourselves stressing about many aspects of our lives.
We need to learn to be patient in our times of confusion or miscommunication. In these times we need to be reminded that God is working in our lives and we need to remain patient until the moment that the plan is revealed to us.
We are asked to remain patient and trust God during these times that may be difficult. When God puts us through difficult times, those moments are put into our lives in order to develop us as believers. The truth is, everybody goes through hard times and we can trust God to get us through those hard times, but we should not forget to learn more about whom we are and who God is developing us to be.
“13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”
Prayer is a powerful tool when it comes to our spiritual lives. When you are facing difficult times and you are having difficulty the most important thing that we can do is pray over the situation, asking God to guide us and heal us.
Prayer can be used to lift up our own difficulties to God, or it could be used to lift up the needs of a family member or friend that is in need. Prayer is often used to focus our hearts, minds and our spirits to God’s hearts.
This spiritual tool is strong and should be used in every instance of life. Whether you are struggling with something large, or you are in a good place in your life, we should always be in prayer. We should be thanking God for the blessings that he has given us as well as we should pray when we are in difficult times.
Anthony K. Giesick
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