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Quiet Time in James 3

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

James 3 (HCSB)

Controlling the Tongue

1 Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment, 2 for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.

3 Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. 4 And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.

7 Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. 10 Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. 11 Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.


SIN (verse 9): Lord, forgive me for all the evil words I have spoken from the same mouth I praise You with. Please help me to listen more and speak less, but when I do speak help me to make sure it glorifies You and Your will.

PROMISE (verse 17): God's wisdom is pure, peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy--in that order for us to remember.

ATTITUDE (verse 17): Please help me to put on display through my words and actions Your glory, Lord. Help me to be in Your wisdom always and to live my life as a reflection of Your wisdom.

COMMAND (verses 9-11): You command us that we should not praise and curse out of the same mouth as those we are cursing are mad in God's likeness just as we are. By cursing others or using "angry" words towards others, we are essentially using them towards God!

EXAMPLE (verses 4-5): Although a ship is driven by fierce winds/waves, they are guided in the direction the pilot wishes to go by a small rudder. In this same way, our lives are driven by God's wisdom but also by the worldly winds/waves at times and our tongue is what navigates us towards one or the other. Help me to navigate the seas of this world properly and always within Your will as this example given to us shows, Father.

*DAILY NOTE: Such a powerful conversation with God in James 3 for me personally because I often put my foot in my mouth and use "angry" words to convey my emotions instead of the actual emotions in a calm way. The default emotion of anger is quite easy for me to flop to and I always have to pay close attention to this. James 3 definitely convicted me.

*GENERAL NOTE: I always "sandwich" my quiet time with God in prayer and do it in a location that I will not have any distractions so that I can be focused on my quiet time with God. Do not worry about how short or long your journal entries are for that day's quiet time. Just focus on the actual quiet time and relational conversation with God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. The journaling is an enhancement to your quiet time conversation with God, but also to allow you to reflect on things later as you can look back on your journal entries later when you do the chapters again in the future to see how you have grown. See the FAQ for more detail on how I do my quiet time.

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