James (Today's New International Verson unless otherwise noted)
Taming the Tongue
1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Jesus, I know I have sinned so much that I cannot be a teacher. I have fallen too often. I need Your mercy to be of any service at all. Yet I also know You have shown me much through my falling. If You call me to share how You have changed me and rescued me, I will do it. But Lord, please keep me close and do not tempt me. I am weak. I depend totally on You to keep me from complete destruction.
2 We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Jesus, this is so true. My tongue has spoken so much evil and caused so much pain. If I could just learn to be quiet! Holy Spirit , take my tongue and soften it and make it kind and loving. Help me to only speak Your words with Your love and let all the power and glory be Yours.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Jesus, I know You do now want me to speak ill of others, or be angry with them, or gossip, and then try to praise You. I know it is not right. I know that controlling my words is so important, and I am so bad at it. Why do I speak at all? At least half of what I say would be better left unsaid. When will I learn all this Lord? I need to change in so many ways, and I see so little change and it happens so slowly. I guess I just need to trust in You that this is Your way. So be it Lord. Change me.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Jesus, I can so easily see myself as wise, and I am not. Your description of wisdom here is so awesome. I can see that I should be like that. Wisdom should lead to purity, and servitude, and kindness, and peace. Change me Lord, fill me with that type of wisdom. Fill me with love.