James 3:1-12 1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Our tongue is little in comparison to the rest of our body but it sure can be a sharp little tool if it is not trained! (James 3:10) One minute it can praise God and the next minute it can gossip about another!
So how can we train our tongue? (Psalm 39:1) Firstly, we must change the condition of the heart, amen? (Luke 6:45) Starting the day with the words from Psalm 19:14 is an excellent beginning 🙂 When my heart is right, the words coming from my lips will be also.
As I read today’s text, the Lord impressed upon my heart Colossians 4:6 – my speech should be seasoned with salt. Just what is the purpose of salt in our lives? Why would the Lord use this analogy? Meditating on the little word salt and comparing it to our everyday life opened this part of scripture so much more. I don’t know about you, but I really get more out my reading when analogies are used. The Lord sure knows His creation 🙂 He knows we learn better with real life applications. So what does salt actually do for us?
(1) It adds flavor to food – Again, Colossians 4:6 says my speech should be “seasoned” with salt. We all know what food tastes like when too much salt is added. It’s just not edible! But the right amount of salt makes food taste awesome! So does my speech add flavor to a conversation? Do I contribute something from God’s Word when someone opens their heart to me? When someone comes to me discouraged, do I have the right words to encourage them? (Psalm 19:14) We should strive to share verses with everyone we talk to, saved or unsaved, and add flavor to our conversations. Remember, God promises that His Word will not go out void. On the flip side, salt is also used to cause someone to vomit when poison has been swallowed. Do your words cause a Christian to fall? You literally have caused them to spiritually vomit … think about it!
(2) To preserve food – Do your words preserve? There are lost souls everywhere and their souls need to be preserved, if you will. They need to hear the Gospel and they need to hear it with “flavor.” (John 6:68) We have the words of life and they are lost! Do you see a Christian friend heading toward distruction? That friend needs to be preserved – that friend needs you to love her and show her through the scriptures what she is doing wrong. I am close to two dear ladies and both are not hesitant in preserving me 🙂 They would rather see me living for the Lord than to stray and be chastised. That is a characteristic of a good friend!
(3) To heal open sores – We have all gargled with salt water at one time or another. It helps to heal mouth sores. Do your words bring comfort and healing? (Proverbs 12:18) To the lost, your words should be the Gospel. (John 6:68) To the saved, your words should be full of mercy rather than judgment. (Luke 6:36) We say that we love the sinner yet hate the sin – do we really ? We need to remember that we all are sinners. (Romans 7:24) Not one day goes by that we are not tempted and sin because of it. So who are we to consider ourselves better than the one who has fallen? We are told to love one another – only then will our words bring healing to those who are hurting!
Our goal should be to draw others to the scriptures. (Acts 8:31) Just as salt causes us to thirst and to heal, so should our speech be to others. God’s words will not return to us void – He promises us this! (Isaiah 55:11) Every time I look at a salt shaker, you can be sure I look at it differently! 🙂