James 3:1-18

As a mother of two boys, I’ve to be conscious of what I teach my boys as they are good at getting at me for not doing what I preached. As the saying goes, you have to “walk the talk” to convince the people whom you are preaching to. Likewise, teachers are also judged for their behavior and action. As such they are held to a higher standard. Their words and actions can either lead someone to life or astray.

The human tongue could wield its power for good or evil. Though just a small part of the body, the tongue is capable of inciting war and peace. As Christians, all of our body parts are to be set apart, holy to God. That means we are to control our tongue so that it will not be engaged in gossiping, demeaning, blaspheming, crude joking, lying, flattering, back- biting, boasting, exaggerating, just to name a few.  Are Christians to “murder” people with their mouth on Monday through Saturday and sing praises to God on Sundays? James said “this should not be”. We are called not to grieve the Holy Spirit with unwholesome talk. Our speech should be geared to building up others, not tearing them down (Ephesians 4:29).

There are 2 kinds of wisdoms: heavenly wisdom and worldly wisdom. True wisdom is heavenly wisdom as reflected in the one whose good deeds are done in humility. It is opposite from the bitter envy and selfish ambition of the worldly wisdom from the devil. How easy it is for Christians to be drawn into the worldly wisdom if we are not careful. We will be so caught up with comparing ourselves with others, that our focus becomes “I” rather than on God. In this competitive world we live in, we ought to be asking ourselves “what are we striving for ultimately?” Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters- Col 3:23 is one of my Christian brothers’ motto. It is the Christians’ goal to pursue heavenly wisdom for it is pure, peace- loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial and sincere. All these virtues will reap a harvest of righteousness to the glory of God!


James 4:1-17

Once again, we have to address the ulterior motive of our living. What is the cause of our fights and quarrels? Is our motive right before God? If “yes”, do we ask God for the things we desire and trust that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28)? When we humble ourselves before God and genuinely grieve over our sins, when we choose to obey God and resist the devil, when we are committed to living a pure life for Him, we are choosing God over our friendship with the world. To live otherwise is like living in an adulterous relationship with God. God is jealous for us (v. 5), He cares and is concerned for us. He extends grace to those who yield to Him and He lifts them up.

Our love for God embodies our love for each other. If we cannot love our neighbor whom we can see, how can we love God whom we have not seen (1 John 4:20)? Our love for God should be overflowed to loving people for it is written in God’s commandments. We should therefore use our words to build up our neighbors and not to destroy them.

God who is the lawgiver is also our maker. He knows how many hairs we have on our head as well as the number of days of our lives; therefore whatever we plan in our lives, we ought to put God in the center of it. Acknowledging God’s control over our lives help us to put things in perspective: Enjoying God and glorifying Him is the purpose of our lives.             —- Lai Yee Leong

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