Daily Devotional Sunday 29th November 2020

by William Moody

James 3:5–8

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,1 and set on fire by hell.2 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.


[1] 3:6 Or wheel of birth
[2] 3:6 Greek Gehenna


The tongue can be used for doing good, but sadly the tongue can also be very destructive. A forest fire; in which destruction is brought to many acres of woodland, is often started with just one spark (v5). Once started a forest fire is not easily held back or stopped and its resulting impact can be horrendous.

The tongue is like a forest fire (v6). Our words are evil often in both their origin and impact. The sources of so many of our words are the forces of hell. This is strong language, but this is what James teaches here. The devil speaks yes through the unsaved but sadly also often through the lips of the saved.

The problem James teaches is that many a wild animal has been tamed by man bit no one has tamed their tongue (v7-8). The tongue is harder to control than a wild lion or crocodile. Do you believe this about your tongue?

Consider how your words often contain unloving and critical comments. Consider how your words are often self-centred and used to draw attention to yourself rather than to Christ. Do your words always show love to God and to others?

What is the answer to the problem of our tongues? The first part has to be to admit that we have a problem with our words. James teaches all people have a big problem here, do you accept this? The second part has to be confess our sinfulness to Christ and to seek His cleansing grace and self-control as a fruit from the Holy Spirit.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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