Jeremiah 40, 41; James 3

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 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. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look 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. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. James 3 ESV

I recently had exposure to some Christian homeschooling culture on YouTube that took me by surprise. And when I read this passage- it leaps right to mind. Especially because the speaker was declaring her intention to write and create Bible studies for the homeschool community(i.e. a teacher of the Word). She was very vehemently proclaiming how she was going to be held to a higher standard because she had so many followers. She caused what I think was a pretty large flurry with strong words about a decision she made that had a lot of consequence for a homeschool curriculum company that she was leaving in the name of her influence. I can’t help but think how often/how easily we can distort the Word of God in the name of our own passion and self-interest. And she was clearly self-interested, proclaiming her new role as a bible study writer for another well-known Christian homeschool company and selling curriculum on her site that was almost a replica of the company she abandoned so vocally. It left me with distaste. So much of this passage of Scripture- seems to be about just that. How incredibly easy it is to stumble with the words of the mouth, with the tongue. Every man does what is right in his own eyes. How important that we seek meekness, humility, and the desire to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Sometimes, we must be meek like Christ- where the Father is our defense- and our mouths are silent.

Sometimes, being silent is what is actually the most Christ-like choice in a situation. I have pondered my experience with my brief immersion in this culture, and in the end, I decided that it is most important to desire to make much of the Lord rather than self. In some ways, I feel like this person had the meaning of Scriptures twisted all around. We will be held to account for our words. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things” (v 5). She imagined herself on the judgment day being held accountable for leading others astray by using a certain curriculum. But I wonder if the judgment is more to be feared in the very words we say and the posture of the heart which is evidenced in the way we live and what we choose to promote {e.g. Christ or Self (not curriculum a or curriculum b)}. In addition, in the way we treat others- especially those not of the faith- is an important, vital consideration before the eye of the Lord.

Wisdom is meek. It is humble. It is pure. It is peaceable. It is not arrogant.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3 ESV

In the end, I am left with a strong desire to shield myself. To keep my eyes straight ahead. My hand to the plow. My heart – for the prize. It is good for me to remember—  the prize is Christ. He is the prize. It takes self-discipline, self-control, courage, and meekness to bind the tongue. To silence the self.

Lord, how I love You for treasuring sincerity- for your impartial, pure goodness. Help me stay focused. Create in me the heart that is true to You. Keep me from all evil; keep my life. And Lord, I pray for all the believers who have platforms on social media- may they use them for Your glory and may You be magnified. Amen

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books

3 responses to “Jeremiah 40, 41; James 3

  1. Great words Rebecca. This verse (3:1) always makes my palms sweat. Some day — as a teacher of God’s Word — I’ll stand before Jesus, and I can tell you there have been times when I wasn’t prepared enough or took a teaching assignment too lightly… I’ve asked for forgiveness for those times. We’ll see what Jesus says…
    Also you this passage doesn’t say how many people you teach.. just if you are a teacher. The woman in your example was way misled. It’s not how many it’s that you are.. And as J.D. Greear writes in his book, “Jesus Continued”, that whenever you draw attention to yourself and not to Jesus your words and actions are not of not of the Holy Spirit.
    Well enough from me this am. Thank you for a timely word this morning.

  2. Rebecca

    Thank you for these words! So true. So grateful the mercy of the Lord is new every morning.

  3. Amazing how God was able to use your experience today – you were crystal clear on God’s word – thank you for a great word today – it will make me stand strong.

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