James 3:1 (ESV)
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
This happens to be one of my favorite chapters in the Bible and it deals specifically with the speech (or tongue) of a Believer. Perhaps it’s because I am a teacher of God’s Word AND I love to talk on the radio and so it feels deeply personal. On the other hand, it could be due to my knowledge that I have done and continue to do great damage to people and to my witness as a Christian with that poisonous little thing in my mouth called a tongue. Either way, we all need to sit up and listen carefully to what God is saying through James’ words.
If you are a teacher of God’s Word at any level, then today’s verse is for YOU! It’s one thing to sin with your speech in private, but quite another to do it in public…especially if you are teaching the Word of God.
Proverbs 10:19 reminds us that the more we talk, the more we sin. Take that reality and couple it with the fact that you are handling God’s Word and you have gotten yourself into a precarious situation.
As a teacher of God’s Word, the bar goes up on you. Jesus warns strongly that it would be better to tie a rock around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to lead His people astray (Lk 17:2). Teaching should definitely put the fear of the Lord into you! Not only are you using your tongue a lot, but also you are doing so in service to the King of Kings. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
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