James 3:9-12 NKJV
Matthew 12:34-37 NKJV
Romans 8:26 ESV
I Corinthians 2:13 ESV
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Most of the time we consider a blessing a blessing and a curse a curse. However, those same blessings and curses can be viewed by God in different ways. There are times when what seems to us to be a curse it is actually a blessing in disguise.
In James 3:9 we read, “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” This section of scripture follows the taming of the tongue discussion in James 3:7-8, so the “it” refers to the tongue. James reminds his readers the tongue can be a blessing or it can be a curse.
For the blessing side James says we can bless God. And with the curse, the tongue can curse men who were made in the likeness of God.
It’s interesting that James doesn’t even consider that the tongue can be used to curse God. It wasn’t even mentioned as an afterthought. James never even considered someone cursing God as a real possibility. What struck me about that is his relationship with his half-brother, Jesus who was God.
In Matthew 12:34-37 we read, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So, here’s the deal…James saw first-hand what the tongue should say.
James was there when Jesus blessed a meal.
James heard his older brother referee a fight with love and grace between the other brothers.
James knew how Jesus treated his mother and father with love and respect.
James knew that Jesus is God and what that means…who would or could curse that?!?
In James 3:10 he says, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James was making it quite clear that the tongue should be used for blessing. He was telling his Hebrew brothers who had scattered into the world that they should use their tongues to bless and NOT to curse. James knew as the disciples of Jesus scattered into the world, they would set the standard FOR the world. He didn’t pull any punches about what that standard should be!
James goes on in chapter 3, verses 11-12, to ask, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”
He was saying they can’t have it both ways. Today we would call it having a double standard. He was telling them if they act one way one minute, and the opposite way the next minute, people won’t know what to think.
As I studied this lesson, I thought about how very difficult NOT having any double standard would be in today’s world. Oftentimes even when we are joking around, we could easily be displaying a double standard. Even when I try to offer blessings and stay away from saying negative things about someone, I know I’m not perfect because I’m not Jesus.
I also know that when we need assistance, we do have a helper! The Holy Spirit was sent into the world to help us when we can’t measure up.
In Romans 8:26, the Apostle Paul wrote, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.” So, the Spirit helps us pray.
The Spirit also helps us say. In I Corinthians 2:13, Paul wrote, “we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
So, when we find ourselves in a tight spot and we know we need help, we can ask the Spirit to give us words of wisdom. It only takes a second to utter a prayer asking for help. All we need to ask is, “help me, God,” and the Spirit knows what we need.
The catch is in recognizing the feeling of confusion or need. When we learn to seek God’s help, we need to be aware that we need God’s help. It becomes a personal admission of wanting to rely on the Spirit for everything. Thankfully, even in that we can turn to the Spirit to ask for help. We can even say to God, “show me what I don’t know” and God will teach us.
We also rely on God’s promise to make a curse a blessing. In Romans 8:28, Paul wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Rely on the Spirit of God
Ask God to help you speak. More than likely you know your weaknesses so if you do know, ask God to start there. All we need to do is ask and we will receive (Matthew7:7-8).
In God, Deborah