Daniel Darling, author, pastor, speaker / Posts tagged "speech"

5 Attitudes for Christians in a Political Season

So another Presidential campaign season is upon us and Christians are engaged at all levels and on both sides of most debates. As a recovering political junkie, I realize how easily my time, my energy, my attitudes can get sucked into the life force of Presidential politics. So here are a few attitudes that we might consider as we engage: 1) An Attitude of Prayerfulness for the Politicians (1 Timothy 2:2) This is hardest to do and least obeyed command when it comes to our political leaders. Its easier to fire off a nasty email/tweet/Facebook post/blog instead of actually committing to daily prayer for our leaders, whether we agree with them or not. I must admit that I'm consistently having to repent of this disobedience. We should pray for President Obama and his wife and children during a grueling season. We should pray for the Republican opponent and his family during a grueling...

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Taming the Tongue

We’re going through James at Gages Lake Bible Church in a series we’re calling Authentic Faith. Currently we’re in the middle of chapter three, which gives perhaps the most specific, biting description of the tongue in all of Scripture and perhaps all of literature. It begins with a warning, in James 3:1-2 about the importance for spiritual leaders to master their speech, that this is a key sign of spiritual maturity.

But how? Well in the next ten verses, James offers us a three revealing insights about our speech. It’s interesting. We often look at these verses in James singularly, cherry-picking them and applying them. In some ways, we read James and then go home and beat ourselves up and say, “Yeah, I need to do clean up my speech.” But then we go and do the same things and wonder why we don’t change. But if you study James 3 in context you find a much richer prescription for real life change when it comes to the tongue.

I’d like to just discuss the three truths James reveals about the tongue and how the gospel provides the only cure.

1) You’re Tongue is Powerful. James disabuses us of the notion that words don’t matter. They do matter. The tongue is a “small member that boasts of great things” (James 3:5). It is compared to the bit in a horse’s mouth (James 3:3), the rudder of a ship (James 3:4), and the spark that lights a fire  (James 3:5).

The tongue has great power. Words matter. We instinctively know this. Look at the sweep of history. Much of it has been shaped by words, for good or ill. Consider World War II. While the words of Hitler motivated the slaughter of millions of innocent Jews, the words of Winston Churchill inspired a nation to resist their enemies, against all odds. And on a personal level we see the power of words. We can cut deep wounds in those we love or we can lift them up with encouragement.

This is where we must see that God purposely designed the tongue to have power. James is not merely telling us we shouldn’t speak. He’s saying that it is a rare and mature person who skillfully knows how to bridle the tongue and harness it for good. A rudder doesn’t work well when it is not moving at all. It was designed to steer and to guide the ship somewhere. A spark can light a fire for good: in a combustible engine, for a campfire, in a stove to warm or cook. A bit controls the horse, not letting it go where it wants to, but moving it where the rider wishes.

Spiritual maturity is not shutting up. It’s the wisdom and skill to know when to speak, when not to speak, and what to say.

Why Words Matter

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:1-2 (ESV)  We may be the most talkative generation in history. I have no way of measuring that, really. But consider the ways we can communicate with words: text, Tweets, Facebook posts, Google Plus, email, blog, comments, cell phones. That’s not even counting this really old-fashioned way of communicating called “face to face conversation.” Most of the time we don’t weigh the value of our words. We throw out words like they are disposable. We post things online or text things before we consider the consequences of what we are saying. But we would be wise to consider the words...

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