P’s and Q’s : James 3
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” (verse1)
- As a believer, what does it mean to be a teacher? Why is it that God will have consequences for Christian teachers who are not glorifying God in their positions?
To be a teacher is to be one responsible for communicating God’s truth to others. Leaders will incur a stricter judgement/greater condemnation because they are entrusted with more responsibility.
“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well … But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” (verses 2 & 8-10)
- Why are we not perfect? What are ways that you have not glorified God with your words this year?
“Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.” (verse 3)
- Illustration #1: God’s first illustration of the tongue is a bit in a horse’s mouth. What does the bit in a horse’s mouth do? How does this apply to the words you use?
A bit guides the direction of the horse. Our words will guide our direction as well since our words can be an outpouring of the heart.
“Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.” (verses 4 & 5)
- Illustration #2: God’s second illustration of the tongue is the rudder of a ship. What does the rudder of a ship do? Like a big ship, how hard is it for your words (the rudder) to turn around the ship from its current course?
“See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” (verse 14)
- Illustration #3: God’s third illustration of the tongue is fire. What is positive about fire? What is negative about fire? How have you negatively “set aflame” with your words and how have you warmed others with your words?
Fire is positive because it provides heat, light and warmth, but fire can also very easily get out of control and burn things down and cause destruction.
“Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”
(verses 15 & 16)
- Illustration #4: Fresh and bitter water. Illustration #5: Different trees and what they produce. What do these illustrations tell about the words we use? Where are you at today?
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (verses 14-16)
- How is wisdom from below (from the enemy) described? How have you seen people in the world use this “ungodly wisdom”?
Wisdom from below is bitter and selfish. Example: I have seen some coaches use ungodly wisdom to motivate players.
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom … But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (verses 13, 17 & 18)
- How does God describe wisdom from above (from God)? Who is in your life is giving you Godly wisdom?
Pure, peaceable, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
- We must give God our opportunities to teach.
- We must give God our words.
- We must give God our wisdom.