Friday, April 26, 2013

Grow Up!

"Why don't you just grow up!" If you are like me, somewhere along the line, the previous statement has been made to you! I will venture to say you've said it to someone else too. "Just grow up!" This is a harsh statement because it directly implies that you and I are...well...immature. It also implies that we haven't yet arrived. And you know...It's true.

James from the Bible makes a pretty interesting statement in his letter. "For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well." (3:2) Catch what James is saying. Everyone of us makes mistakes in many ways. However...if we don't make mistakes in what comes out of our mouth, we've become perfect...even controlling all of our actions.

First understand that the word "perfect" does not mean "flawless". It means complete or mature. If I can control my tongue (and you know what that means), I am a mature follower of Christ. A true sign of maturity is the outward evidence that I can, at all times, control my tongue. You know one is mature or immature in Christ simply by listening to them speak. It is very interesting to me the way James states this.

James continues by using a horse and a ship as examples. We control the horse, which is much larger and stronger than us by using a bit and a bridle. As big as a sailing ship is, driven by powerful winds, the captain controls the direction of the ship with a tiny rudder. What great examples!

We control our own destiny with our very small tongue. We can control the destinies of our children with our very small tongue (and teach them to do so). We can bless God with our tongue. We can curse each other with our tongue. James says this these things should not be this way. Beginning to understand this is the beginning of maturity in Christ.

James also says, "For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." Sounds pretty hopeless doesn't it. No one can tame the tongue. No human can tame the tongue. You cannot tame your tongue, but Jesus can! How is that done? By replacing our words with His words. He not only speaks truth...He is the truth. This only happens as we learn, meditate on, and confess God's Word. Everyone word that comes out of our own mouth should be filtered through the Words that come out of God's mouth. It is possible, and it is maturity!

In Matthew 4:4 Jesus quotes from the Old Testaments as He overcomes the temptations of the devil, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" The more we live on God's Word's the more complete or mature we are.

How mature in Jesus are you? Or rather, how is your tongue? (Same thing.) Is it a wild thing or is it becoming tamed with the bit and bridle of God's Word. Make it your goal to bless God and others with every word that comes out of our mouth. What do you think?

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