Welcome to Chapter 3
Chapter 3 is about words and wisdom. Share stories where you have appreciated the wise counsel of another Christian. What difference did their words make to your life?
For an introduction to the study and worship, read aloud the whole chapter.
Watch the You Tube video about the positive power of words, the Blind Man:
Share good words about God’s love and celebrate all he has done for us. You may like to write them down on a poster, or speak aloud, or use post-it notes. You may like to sing or listen to a worship song whose words inspire faith and confidence in the Lord.
James is very blunt about the capacity of our tongues to take relationships down a dark alley. Be brave and take time to bring to God the challenge of taming our tongues, with the words of James 3.5-6 ringing in our ears: ‘It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke, and go up in smoke with it….’ (Message version).
To help in this new season in Whitewater, we can all embrace this teaching. We may need to acknowledge the wounds we are carrying, perhaps repent of words that have caused brokenness, and turn to new ways of celebrating and praising each other. If you are able to spend time in honest prayer, bring to God the things that are hurting, and ask for healing. I would be grateful to hear how this goes, and anything that might be taken into our public worship and prayers in the Lady Chapel.
I believe in the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy, so please do share with me if God gives you anything for us all in our churches at this time.
Read aloud the words of St Paul to end this time of prayer and worship: Philippians 4.8-9.
‘Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.’ (Message version)
Word - Questions to think about
- The images that James uses help us understand the power of the tongue. Describe them as a group, and explore any stories that illustrate these words in the Bible.
- Many proverbs in the Old Testament are about the power of words to form or destroy. Pick one or two to share. What would be a 21C example?
- Jesus is the Word of God, John 1, the logos, how does he reveal to us the power of the living word of God? Think about the teaching of Jesus which reveals the heart of God for good news, hope and transformation [Matt 10.7] with examples of kind words spoken by Jesus that brought healing and faith [eg. Matt 12.15-21; Luke 7.1-10; Luke 8.42-48].]
- Have you experienced the power of a prophetic word, a gift of the Holy Spirit (checkout 1 Corinthians 12.1-11)? Share your understanding, and be encouraged in the work of the Lord in our generation. If you would like to find out more, you could look at the article written this year, which refers back to pre-Reformation days: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/may/andrew-wilson-language-prophecy-healing.html
So What? What difference will this make to my life?
This is the key question: is God asking me to change anything about the way I think, live or behave? If so, what might be my first step to making such changes with his help?
I believe that the words coming from our mouths are expressions of what is in our hearts. Perhaps we need to acknowledge where we are angry or frustrated or wounded, and ask for friends to help us move to a peaceful and calm place, perhaps to work on forgiveness or reconciliation?
Pray about how you might spread good words around this coming week. Keep a diary of the impact. Be accountable to a friend or companion in the church family. Share next time you meet.
Marion de Quidt.
The Message Bible. NIV and The Message Parallel Bible © 2013. Zondervan.
Martin Young. Brave: Faith and Works. Spring Harvest Bible Study on James © 2018. Essential Christian.