“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.” – James 3:2
What a powerful verse! This is a great reminder that we all stumble and sin in many ways. This immediately puts us all on a level playing field. I’m not any better than anyone else.
I need God’s grace and forgiveness today – just like everyone else!
To illustrate this, James points to our tongue and our inability to control it. That immediately sets a humble perspective. If you control your tongue, you can control your whole body (aka – you can be perfect).
It doesn’t take long for me to reflect before I’m thinking about things I wish I’d never said. I expect it is the same for everyone.
Our words have impact.
Reading James’ words above draws me to be more self-controlled. I must discipline my tongue. And yet I realize that it is not my tongue that is out of control, but rather it is my thoughts.
Certainly, I must choose not to simply speak everything that I might want to say. However, improving what comes out of my mouth is more than just keeping silent. It requires that I feed my thoughts on those things that are honoring and true.
When I say something hurtful or mean or unkind, it is a direct reflection of my hurtful, mean and unkind thoughts. Therefore I must purify my thoughts if I will purify my speech.
This requires the daily renewing of my mind. The more I feed my thoughts on the truth of God’s Word, the more likely I will speak that which is true, honorable, just, pure and lovely (Phil 4:8).
“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
– Jesus (Matt 12:34)
If you want to be perfect in all you do, learn to control your tongue thoughts.
NOTE: There is no one who is perfect except for God Himself. Instead of trying to be perfect, pursue following Jesus. And when you follow Him imperfectly (we all stumble in many ways), thank God for His grace and forgiveness provided though the cross.