Say Don’t Say: Say Who You Are

“Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:11-12)

At the end of James’ crushing, angry-sounding description of our evil use of words, he offers a smidgen of hope. Yes, hell itself can use our words to cause destruction. Yes, whole lives can be undone by words out of control, And, yes, we are powerless to be perfect with our words in our own strength.

fishmouth_350But for followers of Jesus, our words can also signal a surprisingly helpful identity crisis. When I use my words to praise God or encourage a friend or speak the truth in love, I speak as who I am in Jesus and by His power. When I use words to destroy, I speak out of my old life, the one in which I served myself first and always.

James shows that we can’t be both people. Are you a source of fresh water or salt water? Are you a fig tree or a grapevine? Are you in Christ or serving self? You can’t be both at the same time. Be who God is making you. Let your words reveal Christ in you.

Think: Think about the way you have used your words this last week. How would you describe the person who uses words in that way?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be more and more like Jesus on the inside so that Jesus-style words come out of your mouth.

Do: Look up a few of Jesus’ words in the book of John. Pay attention to what He says and how He says it.