The phrase “tongues of fire” takes on a whole new connotation in James as he continues on..
Look at verses 5 and 6 now:
“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.”
Here James compares the tongue to a fire. A world of iniquity set aflame by the fires of hell! Little as it is, it can cause great mischief. The tongue, though small, can compromise our entire testimony for Christ! A little fire, you see, can go a long way…
In 1866 there was a great fire in Portland, Oregon. Only 2 people died but 10,000 were made homeless and 1800 buildings destroyed. It was July 4th, and it was a little firecracker started the blaze.
In 1871, an inferno tore through Chicago, Illinois killing 300 people. Approximately three square miles of city wasted as 100,000 men, women, and children were left homeless. So the story goes, it all started from a tipped-over lantern in a barn.
You know, you don’t have to be a fireman to know all too well how easily a deadly fire can come from as trivial a thing as a cigarette butt. Little things can cause great damages.
In fact, it’s the little things that often cause the most damage because they go unchecked, unregulated, uncontrolled, until it is too late. Just the same, uncontrolled tongues – worlds of iniquity set ablaze by the fires of hell – can cause serious damage too.
Consider the iniquities in Scripture that have been set ablaze by the tongue:
In Genesis, Chapter 3, we read of how the perfect creation fell when the serpent’s lips parted, delivering sweet lies to Eve’s ears. Doubt reared in her heart and she took it upon herself to decide what was good, ignoring the command of the LORD. Together with Adam, they cast us all into a world with death and disease and a struggle against sin.
That was the first lie. How many more have been spawned ever since? How many lies are told each year? Each day? Each moment? Worst of all perhaps is the question of how many in the church today are led by an unbridled tongue?!
How many of the great prosperity gospel health-and-wealth name-it-and-claim-it preachers are out there making a killing by lying to their followers about the Lord? Or those who have taken to supporting those notions that are completely in opposition to what the Lord has declared as good!
Pray for these men and women, because condemnation waits at the door for them! Pray that they turn from their deceptions and greed and all false teachings! Pray for all them that listen to these people, for they don’t realize how deceived they are!
Unbridled tongues unleash serious consequences…
“The Power of the Tongue” continues next time…
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