‘Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!’ — James 3:5
In chapter three, James deals with another seemingly unimportant issue in the Christian life that is actually of huge importance – the tongue. The tongue is like the small bit that controls the entire horse or the small rudder the controls the entire ship (v.3-4).
Our words may not seem like a big deal, but they can kindle fires that destroy many (v.5-6). The tongue is often the thing that gets a leader into trouble (v.1-2). The tongue is the one creature in nature that is impossible for man to tame (v.7-8).
The reason that the tongue cannot be tamed is because it is connected to our hearts. We speak out of what is in our heart. So if our hearts are impure and not filled with wisdom that is from above, then our tongues will spew forth impurity (v.9-18).
The solution is to engraft God’s wisdom into our hearts so that the fruit of righteousness flows from our lives and produces peace. Impure words indicate an impure heart. Clean up the source and the river of our mouths will flow with purity. Have a corrupt source and no amount of effort will cleanse what we say.