New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions. You’ve made ‘um. You’ve broke ‘um. Here it is another year beginning and there are most likely millions of resolutions that have been made and my midnight January 1, 2007 lots of them will have already bit the dust.

Two passages of Scripture from the Story of God may suggest two thoughts that might lead to an intentional resolve for 2007.

In the first chapter of the book of James, he writes: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. We often say that we need the wisdom of God. We quote our favorite passages of Scripture thinking we have found and can recite that wisdom. We must remember that quoting verses of Scripture are not simply Christian Proverbs to be used to get anything we think we need. There are four areas of wisdom which James discusses. We should to be aware of all four.

  • There is the wisdom to control one’s tongue: 3.1–18.
  • There is the wisdom to submit to God: 4.1–10.
  • There is the wisdom not to slander one another: 4.11–12.
  • There is the wisdom not to boast: 4.13–17.

One of the problems that is that believers who desire to be teachers without the ability to control their tongue. He treats this problem in the first eighteen verses of Chapter 3. I want to draw you attention to the first 10 verses.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. 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. 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 his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

In this treatment of the problem James provides six illustrations to demonstrate the need to control the tongue.

  • Bits: These are used to make a horse go the direction one wishes – 3.3.
  • Rudder: A rudder was used to direct a ship where the pilot wanted to go – 3.4.
  • Small Spark: From such comes large fires – 3.5–6.
  • Animals…Being Tamed: It is difficult if not impossible to tame.
  • Poison: The product of an untamed tongue – 3.8.
  • Spring: Water can be both bitter and sweet, but it should not be so – 3.9–10.

The concluding verses ask rhetorical questions which all summarize the need to master the tongue and how difficult it is to do so.
It is important to recognize that the tongue provides the vocalization of the thoughts that we think. We think and speak. I know, sometimes we think that the speak without thinking, but that is not necessarily so. Let’s hold on to that for a moment and move to another passage.

I am often reluctant to try to force passages into some unknown pattern to make a point. But, here’s my thought. Paul and James knew each other. It is conceivable that Paul may have had knowledge of James teaching in his book which was most likely written in late ’49 of the First Century. Some ten years later Paul writes a letter to the church at Philippi and offers them some serious advice about their thinking process. I wonder if some of what he says may have been influenced by James’ thoughts about the tongue. Just a thought.

Close to the end of Philippians Paul writes:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true (things which are fact), whatever is noble (things which inspire you to reverence and awe), whatever is right (things which promote right conduct), whatever is pure (things not defiled or contaminated), whatever is lovely (things which are pleasing and agreeable), whatever is admirable (things well spoken of)—if anything is excellent (things which are morally correct) or praiseworthy (things which you can commend God for by telling him)—think about such things

Since our thoughts are often made public by our tongues we might think of how James’ words and Paul’s words can help us to intentionally resolve to think/speak differently in 2007. Wouldn’t it be cool if we ask God to discipline us to only think about things that are factual, things that inspire us to reverence and awe, things that promote right conduct, things that are not defiled or contaminated, things that are pleasing and agreeable, things well spoken of, things that are morally correct and things that you can commend God for by telling him about it as you chat with him. Wouldn’t it be cool if we followed Paul’s exhortation: “Think (and then speak) about these things in 2007. How would that change our focus and direction for this new year?

Send to Kindle

Books and eBooks by DrWinn

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Disclosure of Material Connection: If links are included in the posts above, some may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I do recommend books and other resources from time to time. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”