Words Few & Full

James 3:1-12

All of us make many mistakes, after all. If anyone makes no mistakes in what they say, such a person is a fully complete human being, capable of keeping firm control over the whole body as well.

This morning as I was reflecting over James 3, I started to feel like I was in a bit of a rut, approaching Scripture and writing in the same manner that I have for a while now.

So I stopped, and prayed, waiting to move forward, listening for insight. Then the Spirit reminded me of a suggestion I came across a few months back of writing a prayer based on the passage you’ve just read.

Great idea!

This can encapsulate a particular reading into a collect which you may return to later to relive your experience with that passage.

If you’re also interested in this approach to change things up a bit, you might use the traditional model  for a liturgical prayer known as a collect which has three main elements:

[Address to God]

i    Theme from the text (often refers to the past),

ii   Petition drawn from the text (often refers to the present),

iii Development of the petition (often refers to the future),


Here’s the prayer I wrote this morning based on this familiar passage about the potential immense wreckage that can be caused by such a small part of the human body—the tongue:

O God of comforting speech,

Forgive me for hurting so many, especially those close to me whom I love dearly, with the thoughtless words that escape my mouth.

Purify my lips, and purge my speech, so that my words may be few and full, only what is edifying and necessary.

May everything I say be bathed in thought and Spirit before it is uttered, giving others encouragement and You glory.

I ask this in the kind name of Jesus and Your empowering Spirit.


No Favorites!

Gene Ploss Studio

James 2:1

My brothers and sisters, as you practice the faith of our Lord Jesus, the anointed king of glory, you must do so without favoritism.

The heart that allows Jesus to reign within it shows no favoritism because it sees people not as our worldly culture sees people—assigning value based on monetary earning, status and power in government or business, intellectual prowess, influence with others, success in ministry, impressive talents, physical beauty—but rather as God sees them, having value and worth because of who they are, made in God’s image, worth dying for, no matter what external qualities they may or may not possess.

The heart after God’s own heart does not see through the lens of “What can you do for me?” because that heart already has everything it needs in Christ. Bribe me all you want, I have all I need.

The freedom of needing only Christ to be satisfied grants the clearest of vision to see people for who they are, and look beyond the exterior into the qualities of life that really matter—kindness, love for God, love for people, a gentle spirit, a non-judgmental attitude…the qualities we receive from Christ and can cultivate as we move ever closer toward the age to come, in which those qualities will be eternally necessary and fruitful.

It seems those other things that the world is so enthralled with now won’t be of as much use in the new heavens and new earth.

No Doubt

James 1:5-8

If any of you falls short in wisdom, they should ask God for it….But they should ask in faith, with no doubts.

For the longest time I was concerned that if I had any intellectual doubt about God that I wouldn’t receive a darn thing I asked for.

Much to my relief, after some brief study, this is not what James seems to be saying at all.

The language is such that he is referring to doubt in the sense of waffling back and forth, being uncommitted. One translation has it “ask in faith, without hesitating” instead of “without doubt”.

We all have honest intellectual doubts. Those do not disqualify us. But not being all in—that can really hold us back. Wavering and  hesitating, results in non-action. The kind of faith James is looking for is that which is so committed that it results naturally in action toward the will of God.

We’re called to a deep commitment to the will of God even if we often fail at it. God knows our heart. It’s the waffling, wavering, hesitating, changing allegiances that God doesn’t seem willing to work with.

I think this true faith, with no waffling, results in the action of consistent, committed prayer. I’ve experienced this, and have received so much supernatural help when I have prayed in this way—persistently, not hesitating, not wondering if I should.

God, after all, gives generously and ungrudgingly to all people.