The book of James shares the wisdom of someone who has “been there, done that” in the faith! This powerful, short book is heavily centered around living out your faith in a very real way that shows the struggles and conflicts we all face when contending with the flesh. James wrote, “…the tongue is a little part of the body and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. The tongue is among the parts of the body, defiling the whole body, and setting the course of nature on fire, and it is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6) Friends, those words were written out of experience!
Here’s an interesting fact about the book of James: Although the name of Jesus Christ is not directly mentioned, James made around 30 direct references to the teachings of Christ. James is considered to be a book of wisdom, like a New Testament book of Proverbs, for the Christian and, of course, where there is wisdom there is worship!
Our example of Christ cannot stop at the threshold of the church, but must continue into the world in every, single situation we encounter.
James wrote, “…no man can tame the tongue…It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10) The wisdom of James shows something every Christian struggles with: The mouth. “We praise our Lord and Father” but we also “curse human beings” – using our mouths to worship God at church on Sunday and then criticize, condemn, gossip, complain, argue, call names and even worse. Remember, this letter James wrote was to believers!
“This should not be,” James said. Why? Because “where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16) Our example of Christ cannot stop at the threshold of the church, but must continue into the world in every, single situation we encounter. There is no way anyone could sustain the sort of pressures life will throw at you without the presence of God!! Worship is what keeps you in His presence. The world already thinks Christians are hypocrites because they think we say one thing and do another, or that we expect others to be “perfect” when we are clearly not!
The book of James is a protest against that very hypocrisy and calls Christians to show the world the transformation Christ has performed! The world is watching, always, to see if you’re living what you say you believe. That’s where a lifestyle of worship comes in. The wisdom of James is found in, first, controlling the mouth, and then using it for a singular purpose from which your faith will grow on the inside of you and will show on the outside of you: The worship of the Lord.
Thought for today
“Worship” includes not only the act of singing and giving thanks to the Lord in singular moments in time, but, in order walk in the fullness of what God created worship to be, you must also have a lifestyle of worship. This means your life, your speech, your behaviors, your habits and responses consistently reflect that you actively and frequently spent time in God’s presence through worship. That is where the miracle-working power is everyone is always singing about! You cannot spend time in the presence of the Father and walk away unchanged, not if you’re truly worshipping. Not if you’re living a lifestyle of worship. Worship is completely God-centered and God-focused. “Every” evil work is present where there is envy or strife of any kind, James said. Did you see that word? E.V.E.R.Y. evil work- that means that nothing is off the table to blow up in your face when arguments and jealousies are given space in your life. What a fire we some times set ablaze with our words! Control your mouth and instead use its power to worship the Lord! (Want to learn more? Read the entire book of James right here – it’s short!)