James 1:19-20 (KJV) “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Exercising “Temperance” with our tongues will control our…

  1. ATTITUDEEnergy

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our attitude through our…

a. DEMEANOR

James 3:13-14 (KJV) “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth” (Emphasis Added).

It seems some of James’ audience had been competing among themselves for the titles of “wisest” and “most intellectual.”  But they were not showing wisdom and knowledge by their behavior.  They were infected with envy and involved in strife.

James 3:13-14 (MSG) “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom” (Emphasis Added).

In effect, James asked, “How can we know a person is wise and intelligent?”  Then he answered, “We can know by the way he or she lives.”  A person committed to right living has wisdom and intelligence, manifested through good works done with Christ-like humility.

From a Biblical perspective, humanity can be divided into two categories: the wise and the foolish.  The wise, by faith in God, are committed to right living and pleasing God.  The foolish try to get by without God, and they live to please only themselves.  Pay attention to their speech and you will be able to tell the difference between the two!

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our attitude through our…

b. DISCERNMENT

James 3:15-16 (KJV)This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Emphasis Added).

Worldly wisdom is worldly sophistication that understands how the sinful world system works and how to use it for one’s own advantage.  This wisdom is shrewd, cunning, sly, has no moral scruples, and gives a person a high opinion of his ability to outsmart others.

James 3:15-16 (MSG)It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart, and everyone ends up at the others’ throats” (Emphasis Added).

This “earthly, sensual, devilish” wisdom, as James called it, is a source of envy and conflict in human relationships.  Those who have this false wisdom are boastful of their exploits, deny the sinfulness of their attitudes and behavior, and are careless about the harm they do.

We need to reject the devilish wisdom of the world from the outset.  Since “the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Corinthians 1:21), such wisdom is sinful, foolish, and has absolutely no place in the life of the believer who lives by faith in Christ.

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our attitude through our…

c. DEMONSTRATION

James 3:17-18 (KJV) “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (Emphasis Added).

Having described the false wisdom of the world as sensual and devilish, James went on to tell the characteristics of true wisdom from God.  This is the wisdom we need to receive.

James 3:17-18 (MSG) “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor” (Emphasis Added).

  • Wisdom from God is pure.The wisdom of the world is corrupt and corrupting.  In contrast to worldly wisdom, wisdom from God produces godly attitudes, words, and deeds.
  • Wisdom from God is peaceable.The term peaceable means peaceful, peace loving, and peace making.  God’s wisdom enables us to be peaceful and peace loving, and to be peacemakers.
  • Wisdom from God is gentle.This means divine wisdom is not pushy, overly aggressive, domineering, or bossy.  It prevails by the persuasiveness of love, truth, and goodness.
  • Wisdom from God is easy to be entreated.Wisdom from God is approachable, easy to talk to and reason with, and not afraid of questions.
  • Wisdom from God is full or mercy and good fruits.Worldly wisdom leads people to be hard and cruel.  But wisdom from above will cause us to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, and good.
  • Wisdom from God is without partiality.Earlier, James had warned against practicing favoritism (James 2:1).  Here, he instructs his readers that wisdom from God is fair, evenhanded, just, does not show favoritism, and cannot be bribed or persuaded to do wrong to others.
  • Wisdom from God is without hypocrisy.The wisdom of the world is “false” – merely a pretense of wisdom.  But the wisdom that comes from God is true, sincere, and without any pretense.

James encouraged his reader to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).  He did not teach that godly wisdom would come “Naturally.”  Godly wisdom has to be sought for “Spiritually,” and will impart to us a right attitude in every circumstance and situation of life.