Wrinkles and Pimples!!

think-2…My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:10)

The other day I was looking in my magnifying mirror, checking out how deep my wrinkles are getting and if my new anti-wrinkle cream was working, when I noticed something: I had a couple of pimples!! If I am old enough to have wrinkles, surely I should not have to have pimples, too!! That just doesn’t seem right! Now, being the spiritual person that I am (lol!), a Bible verse came to my mind:

…these things ought not so to be!” (James 3:10).

Absolutely! These things out not to be so!! I shouldn’t have to suffer those marks of mature old age (wrinkles) and at the same time suffer those humiliating reminders of immature teenage skin (pimples)!

Then, I thought, well, I ought to look at that verse and see what it is really talking about, because I know that’s only part of the verse. And guess what!! It’s about the tongue! Oh my! No wonder I remembered THAT verse, because it’s one I have to remind myself about often:

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body…But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:2, 8-10)

…these things ought not so to be!” is referring to mature Christian talk and immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth. Like having pimples and wrinkles on the same face! James is telling us that it is hard to avoid offending people with our words, because we are all sinful and all lack maturity and self-control in some areas, especially our tongue. But he rebukes his audience by saying that we should not speak maturely and immaturely out of the same mouth! These things ought not so to be”!

After spending some time talking with another, we may think to ourselves: Most of what I said was true, most of it was helpful, most of it was important, most of it was necessary, most of it was kind. Only a little of what I said was gossipy, exaggerated, mean-spirited, hurtful, unnecessary, prideful, and self-exalting.

James goes on to use the example of a bit in a horses mouth, the rudder of a ship, and a match that starts a fire – meaning that a “small thing” like the tongue can cause BIG damage!

bit rudder match

He then states that out of the same mouth we pray and sing praises to God, and then we use it to “curse” or speak badly to or about other people who are made in the image of God, as we are, whether saved or unsaved.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t wish to offend people, I know sometimes I do, without realizing it with what I say, or how I say it. So, how do we become this “perfect” man (think ‘mature Christian‘) who doesn’t offend people with their words?

So, he told us it involves wisdom, which, he affirms at the beginning of his letter, we can have if we just humbly ask God for it in faith:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (James 1:5,6)

Then he explains what this wisdom looks like:

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:17,18)

That sounds good, doesn’t it? So wisdom is shown by:

Good conversation, Meekness, Pure, Peacable, Gentle, Easy to be intreated, Full of mercy and good fruits, Without partiality or hypocrisy, Righteous. That sounds a lot like the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22,23.

So the answer to our problem is wisdom. How to deal with wrinkles and pimples? Wisdom – knowing that God is in control and that He wants me to have those natural signs of getting older and mature (wrinkles), but still remind me (with pimples) that I am immature in some areas, and He’s not done with me yet!

And, how to avoid both good, mature Christian talk and sinful, immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth? Wisdom—asking God to help me control my tongue, fearing the Lord (Psalm111:10, Proverbs 9:10), yielding to the Holy Spirit so His fruit is manifested in and through me, and just LOVING GOD and LOVING OTHERS. Let’s be a good influence on others by using our tongue, a small member, to “…be always with grace, seasoned with salt…”(Colossians 4:6).

Well,  I’m feeling convicted, are you??

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

A bit, a rudder, a match, and our tongue are all small things with BIG influence.

The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, use yours to lift someone up today.

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When the Baby Cries

For in many things we offend all. If any mababy cryingn offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2

The last few months my youngest daughter has been babysitting at our house a couple of days a week for a friend’s baby. This baby is the cutest baby ever, and she is so good natured, so happy, so easy, it almost makes me wish I could have a baby again (no, not really!!) – well, I have grand-children for that!! ANYway, even though she is one of the best babies ever, every once in a while she will start to cry, and we know that when she cries, something is wrong, and by trial and error, process of elimination we figure out what is wrong and fix it. It could be that her diaper is dirty, or she is hungry, or has gas and needs to burp, or, or she wants some loving and attention, or she is just tired and cranky and wants her Mommy and Daddy. As children get older, sometimes they just cry because they are selfish and not getting what they want. Nevertheless, there is always a reason why the baby is crying.

My husband has being going through the book of James in his Adult Sunday School class, and we have just finished up a section on the tongue (James 1:26, 3:1-12), and it reminded me of a devotion I did several years ago. It was about when our tongue is out of control, and I named it, “When the Baby Cries”. Just as there are many reasons why a baby cries, there are also many reasons why it seems like our mouth is running over with things that it ought not to be saying. When a baby cries, it is good to go through the list of possible things that could be wrong until we find the reason why our tongue is out of control. The reasons that we neglect to curb our tongue can be correlated with the reasons that a baby cries:

diaper

  • Her diaper is dirtyWhen a baby’s diaper is dirty, we quickly take off the offending “nappy” (British term for diaper), clean the baby up, put on a new diaper, and place that diaper in the trash where we will never look at it again. When we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it affects our heart, and what is in the heart comes out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18). We need to deal with sin quickly – “put it off”, and then “put on” the new man(Ephesians 4:22-25) – clean ourselves up, repent, and never indulge in that sin again. Sin makes us defensive in our speech, it makes us lie, and retaliate with sharp comments and criticisms of others. We need to humble ourselves, confess our sins and repent, God promises to cleanse and forgive us – Praise Him for His mercy (Psalm 53; 1 John 1:9)!

    baby bottle

  • She is hungryWhen a baby is hungry, she starts crying, and the crying gets louder and louder until that hunger is satisfied. When we are not spending enough time in the Word of God, we can quickly start acting and talking foolishly. God’s Word cleanses us (John 15:3), makes us wise (2 Timothy 3:15), makes us holy (John 17:17), helps us grow in our walk with the Lord (1 Peter 2:2), keeps us on God’s path (2 Timothy 3:16), keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11), and puts a song in our hearts (Colossians 3:16), just to name a few things!! So, if your tongue is out of control, it may be that your soul is hungry for the Word of God (Matthew 5:6).

Burping

  • She has gasWhen a baby has gas, we have to pat their back and work that gas bubble up until it erupts out of her mouth. When we are too wrapped up in the world, its entertainment, its philosophies, and its influence eventually that worldly “gas bubble” will erupt out of our mouth, because we are becoming a friend of the world (James 4:4). What is in our heart and mind will come out of our mouths. Just as leaven in hot, fresh baked bread swells in your stomach and gives terrible gas pains, so the leaven of sin in our lives makes us puffed up and gives us terrible conscience pains. When we are too saturated by the world, we tend to get defensive in our speech and are quick to retaliate with sharp comments and criticisms of others. So, STOP loving the world, as John told us! (1 John 2:15).

baby pacifier icon

  • She needs comfort and understandingSometimes a baby cries because she just feels lonely and needs comfort. Sometimes when we feel lonely and misunderstood, we tend to strike out against others. The Lord is our comforter, He is the God of all comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3,4), but He can only comfort us if we go to Him, spend time in His presence in prayer, and allow Him to give us peace and rest. We need to spend time before the throne of Grace to find help in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15,16). Sometimes we need to extend understanding and empathy to others, and be as forgiving of their slips of tongue as we expect them to be of ours (Ephesians 4:32).
  • She is just being selfishAs babies get older, they learn to manipulate us with their crying, they realize that when they cry they get attention, and they get what they want. Often, we say things to attract attention to ourselves, and we use our tongues to manipulate others to give us what we want. Our mouth tends to get out of control when we are being prideful and thinking only of our own needs. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and put others first (Philippians 2:1-5).

I must be

So, Is your tongue out of control? Do you find yourself wishing you could take back the things that come out of your mouth? Do you feel challenged as I do, to take a look at your life, and find out why the baby is crying? Thankfully, our God is merciful and quick to forgive when we confess and repent – He must get tired of hearing me say, “Sorry, Lord, there goes my tongue again!”  Let’s beg him together to “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

I hope this devotional has been a little reminder to you, as it has to me, to search your heart and see what has wormed its way into your heart and begun to defile you. You can have control over your tongue, with the Holy Spirit’s help, He will help you.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth

arm around shoulder