Incredible Influence – April 26, 2016

James 3:2, For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

Colossians 4:6, Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Ephesians 5:3, But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

 The title of the current sermon series at Cottonwood Creek is Legit Faith: All Day. Every Day. This study of the book of James, which was written by James the brother of Jesus, is a how-to manual for living life the right way each and every day. So far, the topics examined what James said about dealing with trials, handling temptation, and relating faith and works. This week, James takes up the subject of our tongue. First, James says that our tongues can either make us or break us. Next, James says that our words have incredible influence on those around us.

James 3:3 says, “… we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example… are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.” Here is James’ point, comparatively speaking. The bit is a small thing compared to the horse, and the rudder is a small thing compared to the ship. However, in spite of size, the bit and the rudder have great power and influences on direction.

Guglielmo Marconi is the credited inventor of long-distance radio transmission.  It has been stated that in his older years, Marconi might have believed that if we had sophisticated enough equipment, every word ever said could be heard. Now science has disproved that theory and has clearly proven that all sound waves eventually die. However, even though sound waves do eventually die, the truth is most people’s memories last much longer than sound waves. That explains why a harsh or harmful word today can affect someone for years to come. That is what James was saying about the influence of our tongue. It can turn a good day into a bad one and a good year into a bad one. Our tongues have great ability to influence those around us both in the past, the present and the future. So today, be sure and use your tongue to influence those around you in positive ways. Be aware of the long-lasting impact of your words. Take time to build up your family, your co-workers, and strangers who cross your path. Invest in the training up of others instead of breaking down and criticizing of others.

When you tame something, it is a process, and taming the tongue is no different. A process is a sequence of events that lead to an end result. Start with Step one; acknowledge the small, yet impactful power of your words. Step 2- turn your words in a different direction. This may take help/accountability from others.

Think about that and have a blessed day!

John Mark Caton, Ph.D