This morning I was remembering a family scene from nearly twenty years ago. I vividly recall blurting out some words that I later wished I could have retracted. You know – you’ve been there – the proverbial toothpaste that can’t be put back in the tube. Haven’t we all experienced this! Thankfully, Holy Spirit won’t leave us there if we are willing to grow. I am inexpressibly grateful for His trustworthy work over the years, gradually training me to bridle my tongue more effectively.
Someone looking for an easy out could read our Scripture for today out of James and take it as permission to stay immature. After all, a few verses later, James makes the strong statement, “No one can tame the tongue” (v. 8, NLT). However, Holy Spirit does not mean this as a pronouncement of our unavoidable lot in life. He is not instructing us to resign ourselves to the tyranny of the untamable tongue.
Rather, He exclaims, “My brothers and sisters, this should not be!” This passage is meant to powerfully motivate us to focus our lives in the direction of gaining more and more control over our mouths. He desires for us to gradually improve, until we become “fountains” that only produce “sweet water.” (vv. 11-12, Weymouth).
Consider these words from our key verse today: “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect…” Perfect. Hmm. Again, we could easily default to “Well, no one is perfect. That’s completely out of reach.” Holy Spirit does not give us room for this kind of illegitimate reason to stay as we are. That word, “perfect” is the same one we find a couple chapters earlier: “…When your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:4, NLT). You will be! This is, truthfully, within your reach by His empowering.
The Greek word in both instances is teleios. It means “complete.” Holy Spirit is ever working in our lives to move us towards completion of His beautiful, artful process in our souls. What freedom there is in maturity!
Do you have any strategies to share that have helped you in the process of growing as a “fountain of sweet water”? What has Holy Spirit taught you in this area? How do these Scriptures apply to our interactions on social media?