Day 33: Small but Mighty
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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 where the pilot wants to go.”
For the next several days, we’ll spend time considering the weight of words. James devotes a large portion of his letter to addressing the tongue and its power. As we’ve come to expect, these scriptures will be packed full of very practical application and memorable analogies.
Our general take away from these opening scriptures is that small things can cause great results. Specifically, the tongue can both destroy and it can build up, it can cause the most harm and do the most good. James begins by talking about teachers and the greater weight of responsibility carried by those who teach. A calling or desire to teach should be carefully considered to ensure there is willingness to be judged more strictly. But the rest of us don’t get a free pass where words are concerned.
Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. And our words are the key to everything about us. As Luke 6:45 says: For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. What are you full of? When your words pour out, what do they say about you? What do they indicate about your character? About your faith?
James uses bits in the mouths of horses and rudders on ships as illustrations of very small things relative to the objects they control. In the same way, the tongue is small and yet it exercises an inordinate amount of control over the things we say and do, and the impacts we make in the areas of influence God has given us. It’s of utmost importance that we understand what hangs in the balance.
God, thank you for your word that faithfully convicts and shines its light in places we might otherwise miss. As we study more about the tongue and its impact, please broaden our understanding and give us the willingness to address any area your Spirit leads us to.