Sunday, November 25, 2012

James | Mercy Triumphs {Week 4}

I have already shared how much I love the book of James. I've also hinted heavily that it might have something to do with the fact that I also RELATE quite a bit with the issues that James addresses in this small book that packs a pretty powerful punch.

This week was no exception. Taming the tongue. Yep, there's no question that I struggle. That's not to say I don't work on it. I have been working on it, for maybe thirty years. And just when I think I've made a bit of progress I make a really egregious error and I'm just aware of just how little control I have. But Beth Moore in Day Four {Fire & Water} points out that just maybe James has the same problem I do. He uses the word WE many times in just four verses (see James 3:1-3, 9), when he'd only used it once prior to this text. I don't know whether that's meant to be encouraging or discouraging! Really, James, Jesus' own brother struggles with controlling his tongue. If he didn't master it, is there even any hope for me.

One of the analogies that James uses for one's words is fresh and salty water, or in some versions bitter and sweet water. Moore refers us back to a passage in Exodus (15:22-25) where God gives Moses some instructions on how to make the bitter water sweet and palatable. I have never thought about my words connected to any bitterness in my life, but it makes SO much sense! If words reveal what is in our hearts, if there is bitterness there then bitterness is bound to come out. Our words really reveal what it is we need to give God permission to heal and sweeten in us.

It's so easy to justify our thoughts and words that are unkind because of the way someone treats us. There is a lot of yuck out there. But God has the power to get under the surface and turn that bitter water sweet! Isn't that the redemptive nature of God that we desire?

This week as I spent time with God he revealed some bitter water in me. He also revealed some waters that used to be bitter that he had already sweetened. Maybe he knew I needed to be encouraged that he would do the same for the unpalatable waters still in my heart.

What waters has God sweetened in you? What waters does he desire to still sweeten?


"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" James 3:9-11

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