I AM the God who can make you “perfect” James 3:1-12

“A perfect man”, wow, what must that be like?  Jesus was a perfect man who had his

What comes out shows what is inside

What comes out shows what is inside

whole body in check.”  What kind of bit can we put into our mouth that will make us speak and act like him?  The Jews thought that perfect adherence to the Law would do that.  But we all know better, as the Law only shows us how bad we really are.  Even teachers, those who are well educated in the things of the Lord are in danger of a more strict judgment in this regard because they should know better.  So how can we keep our whole life in check so that we can teach others without fear of hypocrisy and judgment?  (picture credit yourlifematterstogod.blogspot.com)

Taming the Tongue

3    Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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 wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Who are you Lord?

I AM the very Word of God made flesh who still speaks to man today through the Bible.  My nature is truth, righteousness, love, peace, justice, mercy, grace and I speak to man from that nature.  When I walked this earth I did not speak or act of my own will but by obedience to everything that the Father told me toI AM the God whose Spirit controls men who would be and act like me.  Thus I spoke through my Judges, Prophets and Apostles by my Spirit so that they could speak my words of truth to you. 

When I saved you, I gave you my new nature which lives in you.  The same Holy Spirit which was with the saints of old, and which guided me while I lived on this Earth is living in you now to control you so that you can live and speak forth my nature.  You can only speak from the nature within you that controls you.  When you are controlled by your flesh, you speak and act accordingly, but when my Spirit controls you, you can speak and act in accordance with my nature. Then you are no longer under law and you can become a perfect man keeping your whole body– affections, thoughts, actions and words in check and it will be obvious to all who listen. 

This is what I desire for all my children.  I have made you perfect in my eyes in Christ; now let me make you perfect in the world’s eyes as you let my Holy Spirit do his work in your heart, mind, soul, words and actions.  I know that you are not perfect in this process yet and will fail often just like I knew the Children of Israel would fail at obeying my law.  That is why my forgiveness is there so you can keep on trusting in me to do this work in and for you.  Know that only my spirit can do this work in you as you allow me and I will continue to do it until that final day.

From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks

‎“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you My Lord and my rock” (Ps 19:14).  In other words let my words reflect my thoughts and my thoughts reflect my hearts desires and let my heart’s desire always be for you my Lord.  Thus there is importance to the verses that say we need a renewed mind, to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, because as a man thinks, so is he.  If a man is controlled by the Spirit, he will “think on things above where Christ is.”  When He controls us then we won’t have to fear judgment for what we say because it will be from God.   In essence as we are controlled by his Spirit we are “a perfect man with our whole body in check.”

What controls you?

We all have a choice to make in this regard, see Gal 5:16, 17.  Like the bit in the horse’s mouth, only the Holy Spirit has the power to be the bit which controls our tongue because he controls our mind and heart as well.  What controls you?  We are beings with two natures – spirit and sin.  Whichever one controls us – will speak.  The default mode is the sin nature, so it speaks of worry, anger, greed, lust etc which everyone can see.  Sometimes we are the last to know.  There really needs to be a moment by moment heart change for the Lord to have full reign over our tongue to speak whatever things are good, lovely, virtuous, etc.  Not only the tongue will be controlled, but also our whole body will follow suit in righteous living because our heart, mind, tongue and lifestyle will be more interested in obedience to Christ.

‎ Jesus had no sin nature, so his heart and thoughts were constantly on what the Father willed.  This is not to say that he was not tempted to do otherwise, but He was always controlled by the Spirit so that his tongue was continually speaking about God’s desires not his own.

The Battle is in the heart

This is why scripture is full of encouragements regarding our thoughts and words.  “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you my Lord and rock.”  “Whatever things are good, lovely, of good report…think on these things.” “Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  “Speaking the truth in love.”  “Set your affections and mind on things above where Christ is seated.”  “It is not what goes into, but what comes out of a man’s mouth that defiles him.”  It is obvious that a person, whose heart is in the right place, will have thoughts which reflect that heart; and will have words which reveal that heart to others.  When this is the case, it is a pretty good bet that he will have his whole body “in check” and will be as perfect this side of heaven that you can be.  What controls you will spill out of your mouth and either justify you or condemn you.

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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