Our language is a window that shows what we have in our hearts. In his Epistle, James mentions language in each chapter, helping us to understand how language reveals the condition of our faith. A certain way of speaking reveals a true faith, just as another way of speaking reveals a false or dead faith.
I read you various passages in which the Bible talks about the use of our language.
Know this, my beloved brothers: that every man is ready to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19)
If one thinks he is religious, but then does not restrain his tongue and deceives himself, his religion is in vain. (James 1:26)
Speak and act as people who are to be judged according to the law of freedom. (James 2:12)
Don’t speak badly of each other, brothers. Whoever speaks badly of his brother, or whoever judges his brother, speaks ill of the law and judges the law. Now, if you judge the law, you are not one who puts it into practice, but a judge. (James 4:11)
Above all, my brothers, swear neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but your yes, let it be yes, and your no, let it be no, so that you do not fall under judgment. (James 5:12)
Let us remember that in the book of James, the Holy Spirit explains to us the way of life that true believers should have as the fruit of true salvation. In chapter 1, we see that a true believer will endure trials and temptations, and will be obedient to the scriptures. In chapter 2 we see that a true believer will have regard for others without favoritism and will have a life full of good works. Then in chapter 3, James explains how true salvation will manifest itself in a new way of speaking. The tongue reveals the condition of the heart. Whoever is truly saved will control his tongue.
Here are some statistics to help you understand how important language is in a person’s life. According to some studies, an average person says more than 20,000 words a day. In other words, in a year, our words could fill more than 60 books of 800 pages each. The average person spends a fifth of their life talking. How many words do we say!
Our words are like a thermometer that measures the spiritual temperature of our heart. When going to the doctor, he often asks the patient to open his mouth because he wants to see his tongue. And as the tongue reveals much of the condition of the body, so our words reveal much of the condition of our heart.
God saves us through the word of preaching, and a truly saved person will begin to speak in a new way. Similarly, a person not truly saved will continue to speak as in the past.
It is interesting to note that after the fall of Adam and Eve, the first sin was indeed a sin of words. When God asked Adam if he had eaten from the tree whose fruit was forbidden, in his answer Adam sinned, blaming the woman and also God. How easy it is to sin with our tongue.
In Romans 3, when Paul wants to describe how great is the sin that dwells in man, he speaks of the tongue. For example, it states:
«Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have plotted fraud ». “There is snake venom under their lips.” (Romans 3:13)
Very often we can recognize some of our sins through our words, that is, through our language, rather than in any other way.
In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah wanted to confess to God how great a sinner he was to a Holy God, he spoke in his language: Then I said:
«Woe to me, I am lost! For I am a man with unclean lips and I live in the midst of a people with unclean lips; and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts! ” (Isaiah 6: 5)
So, let us remember that the tongue manifests the condition of the heart. Pure and righteous words reflect a pure and righteous heart. In chapter 3, James invites us to evaluate our way of speaking, to recognize if our faith is true. He explains that if our speech is not pure and fair, then our heart is not pure and fair. Therefore, brothers, it is essential to control our language.
In his letter, James cites five essential reasons why it is necessary to control our language. In this sermon we want to consider the first reason. God willing, we’ll see the other reasons in the next sermons.