Life-Study of Jamesby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to chapter three of the Epistle of James. Verses 1 through 12 of this chapter are concerned with bridling the tongue, and verses 13 through 18, with behaving in wisdom.
It is extremely difficult to bridle our tongue. For example, you may find that you are not able to keep yourself from speaking even for an hour. But if we fail to bridle our tongue, we are foolish. However, if we restrict our tongue, we are wise. Wisdom in practical Christian perfection is related to restricting our tongue.
In James 3 two words are crucial—the tongue and wisdom. For years I was not able to understand the last part of this chapter, the verses concerning wisdom. I could not understand them because I did not have the key. But now I have seen that the key is that restricting our tongue is the way to have wisdom. Foolishness is related to talking too much, and wisdom is related to bridling our tongue.
In 3:1 James says, “Do not become many teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.” Teachers tend to bring in different teachings, and this produces different opinions and causes trouble and division (see 2 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 1:3-4, 7; Eph. 4:14).
In verse 1 James says that teachers will receive greater judgment. Whatever we say will be judged, and we shall be judged by our words (Matt. 12:36-37).
Although we need to learn to bridle our tongue in our daily living, we all should be encouraged to speak in the church meetings. If this becomes our practice, the meetings will be greatly uplifted, blessing will come, and problems will be solved.
Problems in married life are often due to the tongue. If a husband and wife would bridle their tongues, many of their problems would be solved. But because some have an unruly tongue, this tongue creates serious problems, and these problems may even result in divorce.
According to my experience in human life, I can testify that the best way to avoid trouble is to restrict our tongue. Regarding the proper use of our tongue, we need to ask God for wisdom. The wisdom James speaks of in chapter three is a continuation of that mentioned in chapter one. We need wisdom to know how to use our tongue.
In 1:19 James says, “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Speaking often stirs up wrath. But if we restrict our tongue, we shall also limit our anger. For example, suppose you are somewhat unhappy with a certain person, and you point out to him something he has done wrong. Simply by speaking to him in this way you may strike a “match” that is able to start a great “fire.” But if you would restrain yourself from speaking to him concerning that matter, his wrath would not be stirred up. Therefore, in his wisdom James tells us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Married brothers need to practice this with their wives. They should be quick to hear their wives, but slow to speak to them. For example, if your wife complains to you about something, you will be wise if you hear her but are slow to speak. If you speak in haste, you may stir up a fire that can cause serious problems.
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