“And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:6
James has been describing the amazing power of our words—our tongues. Like bits which control horses, or rudders which control ships, or sparks which start a forest-leveling fire, our tiny tongues—through the words we say with them—can do great things, many of them greatly destructive. James stops comparing our tongues to other things and describes them as they are. The picture isn’t pretty. He describes the tongue itself as a fire, meaning it can burn whatever we touch with our words. It is like a fire, very useful in its place, to warm and comfort; so is the tongue in Christian conversation, and in the ministry of the word; the hearts of God’s children burn within them, while they are talking together, and while the Scriptures of truth are opening to them; but as fire should be carefully watched, and kept, so should men take heed to their ways, that they sin not with their tongue, and keep their tongue from evil, and their lips from speaking and rises up into a flame, so angry, and passionate words, stir up the flame of lust, anger, envy, and revenge; and as fire is of a spreading nature, so are lies, scandal, and evil reports vented by the tongue; and as fire devours all that comes in its way, such are the words of an evil tongue; and therefore are called devouring words, they devour the good names of men, and corrupt their good manners, and destroy those who make use of them; and what wood is to fire, and coals to burning coals, that are whisperers, tale bearers, backbiters, are what starts the fire that destroys.
When you control fire, you generate power. The tongue cannot be tamed by man, but it can be tamed by God. It can be set on fire from hell or heaven. If the heart is filled with hatred, Satan will light the fire. If the heart is filled with love, God will light the fire.
Today’s Bible Reading: Psalm 52:1-5, Proverbs 26:20-21