How Should We Use Our Words?

One of the themes of the Epistle of James is the proper use of words. James kept coming back to the theme of using words wisely.

How should we use language, and what does James want us to understand?

First, your speech reflects who you are and the God you serve. Since lost people don’t know God, they primarily learn of God through us. James wants to make sure that our language reflects our faith. He wants us to be obedient to God and show God as He truly is.

It is for this reason that James sorrowed over people who can bless God and with the same mouth curse those for whom Jesus died. He said, “Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be.”

James wants us to understand the importance of consistency in our lives. We must use our language to bless God and bless others. To do any less is to keep people from knowing God.

Second, your words have amazing power. They are not simply spoken; they are also heard. The process of hearing plants words in our minds. These words–especially the most hurtful words–often last a lifetime. These kind of words linger.

Because our words have the power to bless and to curse, be very careful how you speak. Know that you will be judged for every idle word you speak (Matthew 12:36). Understand that those who teach will be under the greatest condemnation (James 3:1).

Third, your words should help others know Christ. It is through the “foolishness of preaching” God makes Himself known. Let us be careful how we speak and what we say about God.

Our words should be used to worship and praise God and to carry His message to the ends of the earth.

Finally, as you speak, seek God’s wisdom (James 1:5) and power. His wisdom is not adulterated by the ways of the world. It does not produce “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition” (James 3:14). God’s wisdom is just the opposite. God’s wisdom is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Who could ever speak against such wisdom? We all need the wisdom from above.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4 (NIV)