Not Stumbling In Our Words

Not Stumbling In Our Words

The Bible tells us something rather surprising in James 3—that the person who does not stumble in word is a perfect man or woman.  This person is one who is able to control everything about themselves.  Wow!

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.  (Jas 3:2-3, emphasis added

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  (Ps 34:13)

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  (Pro 16:24)

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.  (Pro 18:4)

“He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.”  (1 Pet 3:10)

Controlling our words is one of the most difficult things for human beings.  As 1 Peter 3 reminds us, we should refrain from speaking evil.  Do you know that “speaking evil” means some different things to God?  It means:

  • Saying anything that is less than 100% true;
  • Repeating gossip—even if it’s true;
  • Agreeing with other people who spread lies or say unpleasant things;
  • Saying negative or bad things about ourselves;
  • Repeating negative things;
  • Speaking anything that does not agree with God’s Word.

It surprises people to realize that even if they say something negative about themselves, it is unpleasing to God.  God wants us to agree with what HE says about each one of us.  He says that His children are:

  • Fearfully and wonderfully made,  (Ps 139:14)
  • His special treasure, (Ps 135:4)
  • The apple of His eye, (Zech 2:8)
  • Chosen and dearly loved, (1 Pet 2:4)
  • Given His approval, (1 Thes 2:4) and
  • Accepted in Jesus. (Eph 1:6)

From this list, we can understand that the Lord loves us and has said many wonderful things concerning His children—those who love Him and obey Him.  Since our words proceed from our thoughts, a key Scripture to meditate upon regularly is:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Phil 4:8)

As we think about God’s blessings and meditate upon His Words, our own words will begin to change and will correspond to what the Scripture has to say about everything.  God bless you!

The Meekness of Wisdom

The Meekness of Wisdom

Wisdom is a gift from the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:8)  How can wisdom be characterized as meek?

Let’s understand meekness as it was understood in Bible times.  True meekness is power under control such as when a horse is trained to accept a saddle and to obey the will of its rider or owner. 

The training of the horse does not make the animal less strong.  The submission of the horse does not make it less strong.  Neither the training nor the act of submission makes the horse less than he was when he was running untamed.  It actually makes him more valuable and useful!  That’s something to think about for several seconds.

Jesus was described as meek, and yet He had supernatural power available to Him.  All He had to do was to speak to access His miraculous power, but He didn’t do it.  He humbled Himself to the will of His Father to complete His assignment to become our Redeemer.  He was as meek as a Lamb.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  (Rom 12:16 ESV)  Jesus did associate with the lowly and actually became lowly by becoming a man!

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.  (Pro 26:12 NKJV)  Spiritual wisdom is actually a connection with the heart of God.  There is no room for haughtiness or pride when we understand that any wisdom we have is given to us directly by the Lord.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  (Jas 3:13-17, emphases added)  The meekness referred to here is two-fold:  our submission to God’s will combined with our knowledge that the wisdom that is given to us is God’s own wisdom.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  (1 Cor 3:18)  Jesus seemed foolish to many of the people in Biblical times.  Some felt that He should have defended Himself.  Others wanted to fight and to start a battle.  But Jesus, obeying the wise plan of His Father, didn’t do those things.  He was in complete control of Himself out of love for His Father.

Notice that James 3:17 names the “wisdom that is from above,” meaning that it is from God, and the verse talks about what personifies this spiritual and supernatural kind of wisdom.  Jesus did personify heavenly wisdom by being pure, peaceable, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality or hypocrisy.  Jesus was meek as well as wise.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus actually became for us “wisdom from God”!  Jesus embodies wisdom.  Jesus’ life in each one of us contains the wisdom of God.

 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—  (1 Cor 1:30)

Jesus is the perfect example of the Meekness of Wisdom.  Glory to God!

Put Away Anger & Envy

Put Away Anger & Envy

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.  (Job 5:2 KJV)

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.  (Eccl 7:9 NKJV)

 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?  How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”  (Pro 1:22-23 ESV)

Don’t be silly or foolish (as described in the Bible verses above), but put away anger and envy.  Anger gives a foothold to the devil in your life, so try to avoid it.  Envy is another word for bitterness, jealousy, resentment or spite.

Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to control your emotions as you study God’s Word.  The Lord wants to help you so that He may bless you.

The Bible tells us repeatedly not to envy other people.  You may study this by looking at these passages:  Proverbs 3:31; 23:17; 24:1, 19.  The Bible lists envy among a list of vile things in Mark 7:21-23.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.  (Pro 19:11 NLT)  When something happens that hurts or offends you, your first option is to ignore the aggression.  In other words, take no notice of another person’s attack.  Other people will respect you all the more when they see how you handle it.  And the Lord will be pleased with your response.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  (Eph 4:31 NIV)  Sometimes, due to the nature of the wrongdoing against you, it can’t be overlooked.  In that case, give yourself time to calm down and to gain control of your thoughts and feelings.  Plan out what needs to be said, and what you’d like to see happen.  Then take an objective, wise person along with you to speak with the person who offended you.  Try to resolve the issue between you and to restore peace.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.  (Eph 4:26-27 NLT)  Don’t allow your emotions to control you.  You are in control of them because you have the Holy Spirit living within you.  The Holy Spirit within you produces the fruit of self-control.  (Eph 5:22-23 NLT)

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.  (Pro 16:32 NLT)  As this Scripture reminds us, it’s better to be patient than powerful!  It’s far better to have self-control than to be in search of fame.

We Are God’s Possession

We Are God’s Possession

How exciting to understand that we belong to God—we are His possession!  This means that He has custody of us, or control of us. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (1 Pet 2:9 ESV, underlining added)

Of course, the Lord will not control us against our will.  He created us with free will, and God does not violate that.  However, when we submit to Him and to His Lordship, we joyfully desire His leadership and guidance in our lives.  We actually invite Him to lead and guide us. 

To say that the Lord has custody of us is a good thing!  It means that we are in His safekeeping, and that He watches over us.  He is our Guardian as well as our Savior and Lord. 

“. . . because you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord chose to make you his precious possession from among all the nations of the earth.”  (Deu 14:2 ISV)

We are God’s PRECIOUS possession, greatly loved and cherished by Him.

And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.  (1 Cor 3:23 NKJV)  The Word reminds us that we belong to Jesus, and Jesus belongs to God.  As the Bible so clearly states:

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (Col 3:3 NKJV)  Praise God!

Yield to the Lord

Yield to the Lord

The Lord reminds us to “submit to Him” which means to relinquish or hand over control of our lives to Him.  This can be a real challenge for us to do while we live on this earth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:5-6 NIV, underscoring added)

Let’s look at several more passages from the Bible in order to get a clearer picture.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  (Pro 16:3 NIV)  When we commit our actions to the Lord, we place them in His hands and trust Him to:

  • Bless these actions;,
  • Bring Himself glory through them; and
  • Uphold our plans.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  (Isa 30:21)  This passage reminds us that the Lord leads us and guides us by the voice of His Spirit.  He will bless us and prosper us as we yield to Him, and obey His voice..

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”  (Isa 48:17)  The Lord wishes us to defer to His leading and guidance; and as we do, He will cause us to prosper.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (1 Cor 10:31)  In accepting God’s will for our lives by being obedient to His leading, we will actually bring Him glory and honor.  This is the goal to which we have been called.

A believer who will bow down in humility before the Lord, responding with submission and yieldedness to His guidance, will be blessed greatly by the Lord.

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  (Lk 11:28, underscoring added – see also Jas 1:25)  Our obedience to God is blessed.

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  (Pro 19:21)

This article is a meditation upon the concept that our God and Savior is in control of life’s events.  Even in those cases where something that is negative or harmful occurs, the Lord can ultimately bring glory to Himself by delivering us.  He can also cause something that was intended to harm us turn into an opportunity for us to receive a blessing!  (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) – God is not with us in trouble merely to comfort or strengthen us, but to protect and help us.  Hallelujah!

The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.  (Pro 16:4) – The Lord has created everything for His own purposes, and He gave human beings a free will even though He knew that a percentage of us would rebel against Him and reject Him.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  (Pro 16:9) – We make our own, fleshly plans; but the Lord in His mercy and goodness directs the circumstances of our lives according to His good plan for us. 

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.  (Pro 16:33) – Even the most seemingly accidental, chance, unexpected, or unplanned events are under God’s control. Trust Him and rely upon His love for you.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.  (Ps 115:3) – Our God is a merciful and loving God, so He will show mercy whenever and wherever He chooses to do so.  Because He can see the end from the beginning, He knows what events need to take place in our lives in order to accomplish His good plans for us.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand . . . (Isa 14:24) – God’s good purposes and plans for us shall stand for He will bring them to pass.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”  (Jer 32:27) – Whatever our difficulty or challenge or heartache, NOTHING is too difficult for God to turn it around.  Praise the Lord!

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  (Mt 10:29) – We know that God cares for us vastly more than the sparrows, so this verse opens our eyes to the truth that He diligently watches over us in all of the details of our lives.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (Rom 13:1) – We must recognize that God even determines who will have authority at every level of a nation’s hierarchy.  He determines when and for how long a person will be in authority, even our employers, overseers, or business partners. 

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11) – All power comes from God because it all belongs to Him.  Therefore, whatever position of power, authority or influence that you may have, be conscientious, kind, respectful and merciful to others.  You will one day give an account of yourself.

. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  (1 Pet 3:9)

We are called to bless others and to be a blessing.  Living in obedience to God’s will always causes us to inherit blessings.  Recognizing that God is not only in control of all things, but that He watches over us in order to be able to bless and help us will make it quite easy for us to want to help others.