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James 3-5


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year

            Chapter 3 of James letter emphasizes the importance of controlled speech.  On the one hand it is presumptuous to assume we can teach others when we are unable to control ourselves.  We must think long and hard about setting ourselves up as examples for others.
            One of our greatest dangers is the misuse of our tongues.  :A word can ignite a destructive fire of anger or discouragement in others.  The wrong word can easily lead others astray.  To make matters worse, we are least capable to controlling what we say and how we say it, as our emotions and reactions can lead us into statements and responses which do more harm than good.  Speech can be both good and evil, and we must take seriously our responsibility to develop the kind of inner spirit which will be reflected in the godly use of our tongues.
            If we desire to be truly wise, James continues, we must become submissive to God.  True wisdom is neither self-assertive nor insecure.  True wisdom creates and loves peace, exhibits mercy and consideration.  Such characteristics produce a crop of righteousness.
            In chapter 4 James urges his readers to humble themselves under God’s control.  God can only oppose the proud, but He blesses those who are humble before Him.  Even our prayers cannot be answered if they are offered in an arrogant or selfish spirit.  In addition, our pride asserts itself whenever we put down a brother or sister – particularly through slander.  As we find our own forgiveness and sense of gratitude through God’s grace, we must exhibit the same patience and mercy towards others we ourselves have received if we are not to offend God.
            Chapter 5 warns against the temptation of riches, encourages patience in our suffering, and encourages us to pray in a spirit which believes God capable of accomplishing our requests.  In this section, the prayers of the elders of the church are presented as important and worth seeking.
            Do you ever say the wrong thing at the wrong time?  Think of three times your tongue has gotten you into trouble this week.  Make a commitment to avoid repeating those mistakes.  Think of the person(s) you have hurt the most with your tongue.  Make a point of complimenting that person and/or encouraging him/her in some genuine and helpful way.
            Pray that God will shape and improve your character this week.  Find someone you can ask to pray with you.  “God is able if we are willing.”  Write that statement down somewhere and repeat it to yourself the next time you ask Him to make you a better person.

8 A. Eugene Pearson 2010