Does a spring give good water and poisonous water at the same place? Does a branch produce figs and olives together? Does a lake have salt water and fresh water together? I think the answer to these questions is obvious enough. We know that such characteristics cannot have harmony with one another. Rivers don’t change from salt to fresh and back to salt water. And trees usually only bring one kind of fruit. God used these obvious questions in James 3 to make a point.
In the beginning of the chapter, it is established that the tongue has great power to destroy. Although small, it brings direction just like a ship’s rudder. In this chapter, God brings attention to the fact that many Christians have an inconsistency with how they use their tongue. James 3:9 says, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” He is speaking of the typical attitude of the Christians he was writing to.
They would bless God and speak good of God, while they spoke evil about their fellow man. The Lord, through James, poses those rhetorical questions. In the end, it is a question of the tongue, but more importantly, a question of the heart. How can a person truly speak well of God, when they speak so detrimentally of men? Do your actions speak well for God if your tongue curses your brother?
Such behavior is inconsistent and reeks of immaturity or pure hypocrisy. If we speak well of God, and speak evil of man, our lives do not truly “speak” well for God. If we wish to truly speak well of God, we must speak well of Him with our daily life as well as our tongues. We must reflect His love, in all areas of our lives- including our spoken words.
If we can master that (with His help of course) , we will be counted truly mature. As God says in His word, ” If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” – James 3:2
I challenge you, if you truly wish to live a mature life, bless God, and your fellow man by your actions and by your words. As God gave the challenge through James:
“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.” – James 3:13