Managing Your Mouth

Christians meeting together in worship is always purposeful. God never rests from achieving his purposes.
If we have decided to become a follower of Jesus then the constant question on our lips needs to be, How then shall I live? When we respond to this question we are cooperating with God in the achievement of his purposes.
James in his letter is clear that what we say and do, our words and our deeds, need to be consistent. They are like the wings of an aeroplane. Both wings are needed for the plane to stay in the air and fly.
There are so many ways to communicate, to get our words out to the world, face-to-face, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, phone, mobile and landline, and snail-mail.
1. JAMES 3:1-12
This is a hard-hitting letter from James’ pen. He doesn’t beat around the bush. Throughout his letter James gets right into the everyday stuff that we need to attend to. He is inclusive at the outset, making it quite clear that it’s not only FAITH and DEEDS it’s FAITH and WORDS as well.
In this passage he speaks specifically about managing our mouth. On this account we don’t measure up. In fact the passage is like a series of test questions where you simply tick the box, YES or NO.
Do you criticise other people? Yes No
Do you complain? Yes No
Are you quick to condemn other people? Yes No
Do you interrupt when other people are speaking? Yes No
In a multi-choice question you often have a final choice, none of the above. In this case it’s all of the above.
So in managing your mouth I want to give you three principles to practice.
Principle One: Express Genuine Praise and Appreciation
Hebrews 10:25
Praise and appreciation is a wonderful way of giving encouragement. Remember the flipside, don’t criticise, condemn nor complain.
GENUINE praise and appreciation occurs when we acknowledge the specific actions of the person in a particular situation.
Write an encouraging note to someone today.
Principle Two: Be Slow to Speak and Quick to Listen
James 1:19
James states, Be quick to listen and slow to speak AND slow to anger. So often we forget to ENGAGE the brain before we speak or in rural terms FOOT IN MOUTH disease takes over. We have one mouth and two ears. Use your ears.
Principle Three: If You are Wrong Admit it Quickly and Emphatically
1 John 1:9
Confidentiality is an area where we often fall short. Our Bible passage emphasises the need to confess, to admit we were wrong. Confession in the first instance is before God and then emphatically before the one we have wronged.
We could stop here but we need to go further to regarding our question, How then shall I live?
Even trying to hold to the three principles outlined above will demonstrate the difficulty of managing our mouths. We are not alone in our quest.
2. VERY PRIVILEGED PEOPLE
Firstly we are VIP’s, Very Important People. God, the one who loves us, is for us. Refer Romans 5:8
Secondly, we are VPP’s, Very Privileged People. Not only are we made in the image of God we are privileged because we are forgiven, received the gift of eternal life and as a down payment, an assurance, a seal to the promise in the form of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
The Holy Spirit is another Parakletos, translated Comforter, Advocate, Counsellor, Helper or Guide. This then is how we should live in dependence on the Holy Spirit. He helps us manage our mouth.
3. CONCLUSION
While this passage recognises the significant and decisive influence of our words and the dangers of inconsiderate words and James urges us to control what we say the broader theme is HUMILITY.
Managing our mouths means we need to submit ourselves to God and allow His Spirit to teach us how to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This is how we should live!

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