James 3.1-8 – Humility and a quiet spirit.
Posted: 1 July 2011 in James

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

James is surely right in thinking that a quiet spirit is unlikely to be accompanied by a noisy tongue – the reason being that a noisy tongue is most probably in trying to draw attention to itself, rather than serving Christ. For most of us humility is going to lie, at least in part, in recognising that somebody else has a divinely appointed leadership role. Not all members of Christ’s body have the same role, and neither the hand nor the foot is the head.

Of course, for somebody who does have a leadership role, humility is a major prerequisite. If somebody is noticeably lacking in that virtue, then we can be reasonably sure that any claim made to that vocation is a fallacious one. Nevertheless, for most of us obedience to Christ is going, at some point, to involve subjugating our ideas to those of somebody else, and we should really only be opening our mouths in order to serve Christ, rather than to contest their right to a leadership role.

** If it be suspected that the writer of this blog is here exalting his own role, I should make it clear that I have no role which could even remotely be described as a leadership role!

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