Ben Herchenhahn - Choose the Wisdom from Above
The abundance of modern proverbs about the tongue remind us that the words of James still have relevance today:
*He who has a sharp tongue soon cuts his own throat.
*In an argument the best weapon to hold is your tongue.
*A sharp tongue is the only tool with an edge that grows sharper with constant use.
*Medical doctors measure physical health by how the tongue looks. The Great Physician measures spiritual health by how the tongue acts.
Have you ever heard a sick person say, “I’ve got great faith in my doctor. He knows what I need to do and will prescribe just the right treatment to make me better”? And then you notice that the patient refuses to take the medication the doctor prescribes and does not follow his treatment instruction. Can that faith save him? Unless faith in the doctor is combined with obedient action by the patient, the doctor’s skill, knowledge, and desire to heal will be of no value. As James thinks about our spiritual health the question is not, “Is a man saved by faith or saved by works?” Rather, the question becomes “Is a man saved by a faith that does not work?” Our faith has to lead to action that transforms us or our faith begins to wither. We see the principle in our gardens. A plant is either growing or it’s starting to die. Let’s keep growing in our faith and obedience as long as God gives us breath.
Playing favorites has a long history, doesn’t it? Isaac had his favorite son and Rebekah had hers. Jacob had his favorite son and produced such envy and hate among Joseph’s brothers that Jacob would grieve for Joseph for many years. Showing favoritism is not a healthy way to build relationships with the people around us. And James reminds us that showing favoritism as Christians goes against the gospel. In fact it puts us in conflict with the second great commandment. We know how it feels to be on the losing side of special treatment. We don’t like to be left out. We hate it when someone gets a special treat and we are left out. We know how it hurts to be rejected by someone you wanted to call a friend. So, if we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we will be open to everyone, include everyone, try to be a friend to everyone, welcome everyone. I believe God will bless a church that tries hard to live by the royal law.