I was five years old when I first saw fire damage. A house in our neighborhood went up in flames and before long it was burned down to the studs. Little was left except for the charred remains of what was furniture, walls, flooring, and memories. My dad walked me through it a few days after the fire and it was an eerie experience.
As Albertans, we have experienced large fires in the last few years. Slave Lake, Fort Mac, and the number of forest fires in the northern parts of our Province that have blanketed our open sky with smoke and threatened to block out all sunlight from our summer. For those far away from the fires, they are an inconvenience. For those caught in the middle, it is devastation.
In James 3:6 the tongue is described as a fire. He is referring to the words spoken and the thoughts/attitudes that pour out of our mouths. At times our words are fiery, and they can literally burn down everything in its way. Have you ever had someone tear into you? It hurts. Ten seconds of careless words can break a relationship forever.
It seems that there is little hope for us. James tells us that the tongue can’t be tamed (3:8). Kind of sounds bleak doesn’t it?
Does that mean that we just keep swearing like a trucker, lying, slandering and gossiping?
Not at all.
There is hope. Things can change.
It’s a hopeless cause to try to change on our own strength. At some point, we will end us saying something dumb, or worse, destructive. We will burn down those around us.
Thankfully we don’t have to change on our own. Self-help won’t help.
The Holy Spirit is there to help us. He’s the Helper (John 14:26).
Our politicians, movie stars and social media warriors talk enough trash. What we need is for Jesus to flow out of us in our words and actions. Change is possible, but it won’t happen overnight.
ALL THINGS are possible with God. Even cleaning out that potty mouth!
Jesus wants us to speak life where there is death, and bring encouragement to the weary through our words and actions.
Remember, your words are powerful. Use them wisely. Ask God to help you this week to be a source of vitalization, not devastation.