Week 6. Wednesday: Small Spark, Big Fire
PRAY: Ask God to speak to you from His Word.
READ: James 3:5-6
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
UNDERSTAND: get a deeper understanding of the key words
A small part of the body, but it makes great boasts: Pride is the major cause of misusing our words. We we blame our personality or say, “that’s just the way I am” we are being prideful about our sinfulness.
A great forest: Something as small as a spark can cause an entire forest to burn. James’ point here is to warn us of the devastating effects our words can have. The consequences are often much more severe than we realize. And if we are careless enough, sometimes the damage cannot be undone.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil: The tongue has the power to give expression to evil and unrighteousness. James is making the point that it is the natural tendency of our sin nature to speak evil. Therefore, we must fight that temptation and speak life rather than death.
Corrupts the whole body: The Greek word for corrupt is spiloō. It means to be defiled, foul, dirty, or polluted. James is saying that even if you have everything else going for you, your tongue can ruin it all.
Sets the whole course of one’s life on fire: Being careless with your words can ultimately ruin your life. In our culture you can even lose your job for an unwise Facebook post. Words can set your life on fire and fire can be very difficult to put out.
Set on fire by hell: a reference to the fact that sinful speech has a very evil source.
APPLY: What is this passage calling me to do?
What are some small things you’ve said that have had big consequences?
Why is it so difficult to consider the consequences before we speak?
PRAY: Ask God to help you think about the consequences before you speak.