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.”

We’ve discussed that exercising “Temperance” with our tongues will control our…

  1. ATMOSPHEREEnvironment
  1. ATTITUDEEnergy

We finish our discussion with: Exercising “Temperance” with our tongues will control our…

  1. ALTITUDEEnrichment

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our altitude through our…

a. DISCARDING

James 4:1-3 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (Emphasis Added).

It is hard to believe that James had to use such stern language when speaking to Christians!  He spoke not only of “wars and fightings” in their midst, arising from their lusts (sinful desires), but also of killing, to satisfy the lust for other’s possessions. I strongly suspect that much of the “wars and fightings” were evidenced through the intemperate speech used when speaking to and about others!

James 4:1-3 (MSG) “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” 

James wanted his readers to see where their lusts were leading them.  Unfortunately, their lusts had already contaminated their prayers, causing them to ask for things of God that were not appropriate.  Consequently, their prayers were going unanswered.

Here, James gave no commandment to put aside lust (sinful desires), but reading his description of the evils that come from lust, it is certain that every Christian should put aside sinful desires.  Clearly, we need to bring our desires into subjection to Christ.

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our altitude through our…

b. DISCRETION

James 4:4 (KJV) “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Emphasis Added).

When James called his readers “adulterers and adulteresses,” he was referring to their infidelity to God, not to marital infidelity.  By their friendship “with” the world, they showed themselves to be unfaithful to God, and were acting like enemies of God.

James 4:4 (MSG) “You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way.”

While as Christians we live in the world, and we should be friends to sinners as Christ was, if we live godly, this puts us fundamentally at odds with the unbelieving, sinful, attitudes and ways of the world.

The best way to abstain from worldliness is to devote our energies to knowing what is Christ-like, and conforming our desires, words, and deeds to what is Christ-like.  If we excel at following the example and teachings of Jesus, we will not be worldly.

Our tongue is instrumental in controlling our altitude through our…

c. DEDICATION

James 4:5-6 (KJV) “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Emphasis Added).

In opposition to all sinfulness, the Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian has a strong desire for the Christian’s loyalty to be to God.  The Holy Spirit is, in a good way, jealous of the Christian.  If we yield to the Holy Spirit, God gives us grace to reject lust, worldliness, and every evil thing.

James 4:5-6 (MSG) “And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” 6And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.” 

Yielding to the Holy Spirit is an act of humility toward God, but resisting the Holy Spirit is an act of proud rebellion against God.  Many passages of Scripture teach that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace (favor) to those who humbly submit to His will.

As Christians we live in the tension between the desire of the Holy Spirit and the desires of the sinful nature.  The Holy Spirit desires us to live for God; but the sinful nature pulls us toward worldliness.  Our need is to yield continually to the desire of the Holy Spirit.

As we’ve discovered, our speech, and more specifically the ability to use “Temperance” with our speech, is a mirror of the condition of our heart and an indicator of our devotion to Christ.

Proverbs 4:23-24 (KJV) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”

Luke 6:45 (KJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”