When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. James 3, verse 3.
There are folks who say that the Word of God is a bit in the mouths of fool horses. That easily duped fools are controlled by words like these. There are also those who say that many who obey what our government is directing, doing, and law-breaking are horses with bitter bits in their mouths, that they’re easily directed by drivers who hold a whip in one hand and the reigns tightly in the other. And there are those who say these are simply words.
None of that is what James is saying.
What Jesus is saying through James is an analogy, and I love analogies; do you? Sure, the Word of God can change and turn your whole life. Yes, many people are easily controlled by words that mean one thing but mean something else when done by authorities. And these are more than simply empty words.
What James is saying is that our tongues, our words, hold great power. One of the most influential people in the American media today has been saying for years, “words mean things.” He’s right. He’s saying what James – and thus Jesus – is saying but in another way.
Sunday night I stood witness while a mighty young man of God was baptized here in North Texas. He’s always been a good guy, one of the young men who represents the best in his generation and even our whole country. His words brought him to the baptismal tank at a local charismatic church, and that’s where I saw him take the plunge. Literally. All because of words; words that, like a bit in his mouth, helped steer him in a new direction. He can be guided by them, washed clean by the water of the Savior, and branded as a member in the family of God. All because of the tongue.
And just last night I read about a Lutheran pastor in Denver whose radical approach to theology chucks out everything that makes us feel all comfy cozy about Jesus. Her messy history and up-ended life preach now about a fervent, passionate, all-engrossing loving Savior who met her – and you and me – right where she was. All because she said “I believe in Him.”
All because of words. Words mean things. Words can get you married, or in the military, or in jail, or becoming a millionaire. And words – “It is finished” – tell us all we ever need to know about The Word who was and is and is to come, and enable us to live forever.
Forever Word Jesus, speak Your Word into my heart that I may follow you truly always.
What words do you consider most important?
What words drive or control you?
Are you a prisoner to words other than The Word, and what are you prepared to do about that?