One of the graces of preaching is that you get the chance to do a serious self-reflection every week during your sermon preparation. This coming Sunday I am preaching at my friend Chris's church in Waseca, MN and my text is James 3:1-12, and I have studied I have had to acknowledge my own sins that arise from the text.
The passage is all about our tongues/speech and how the words that we use reflect what is going on in our hearts. James teaches that the power of the tongue for good and for evil is astounding, and as Christians we need to pay more attention to our words and speech. No doubt preparing for this sermon has give me plenty of opportunity to pay attention to my own tongue and I'm not especially satisfied with myself. My words 'tell' me that I have a long way to go in allowing the Holy Spirit to transform my heart into a heart like Jesus has.
One pastor wrote that sinning with our mouths is the most common sin of man. He joked, "..maybe that is why Jesus designed the tongue to be walled in behind our teeth." The tongue sins almost without restraint in slander, gossip, hate, put-downs, blasphemy, pride, judgment, anger, hypocrisy, lies, and curses. With little awareness we can use our tongues to sin all day long, and then without cognition of the inconsistency, say our praises and prayers before going to sleep.
I hope to speak about all this and more on Sunday morning. I'd love to have you join us. In the meantime I'd encourage you to tune-in to your words for the rest of the week and see what they 'tell' you about the health of your own heart.