JAMES 3:14-16: “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (ESV)

OBSERVATION: Have you ever said something that you regretted? Survey says – YES! So many times I have spoken and wished I could run after the words that just came out of my mouth and catch them before they touched the ears of the one listening. Yet, that cannot be done. Once we have spoken, the damage is done. Proverbs warns us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This is why King David prayed – “Lord, put a guard over my lips and keep me from presumptuous sin!” (Psalm 141:3; 19:13)

James gives us the same exhortation with a little more insight. Earlier he reminds us that no one can tame the tongue. We all battle with frequent cases of foot in mouth disease. Why is this? Because the mouth bones connected to the heart bone, and the heart bones connected to the mind bone, and the mind bone is filled with either the wisdom that comes from above or the wisdom that comes from below. So James shows us the dilemma when he writes:

“With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (James‬ ‭3:9-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

When words that are angry, hurtful, devaluing, or just “snarky” come out of our mouths, this is a warning that something has gone askew in our minds and hearts. We have allowed our lives to be influenced by jealousy and selfish ambition. When we do – we are falling prey to the wisdom that is from below. We are playing right into the enemy’s hand who desires to kill, steal, and destroy the work of God in our lives and in the lives of others. This hideous deception, that is truly demonic in origin, is that we convince ourselves that we are only speaking what is true, but in reality we are agreeing with the devil and drinking poison into our own hearts and lives.

What is the answer? Is there any hope? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord who gives us the victory! What I cannot do within my own human limitation, what I cannot overcome through my own personal hurt and pain – He overcomes through His Grace and the wisdom that is from above! When we begin to renew our minds with God’s Truth, when we make His commandments our daily meditations, when we begin to think on these things something wonderful happens – OUR SPEECH BEGINS TO CHANGE! We begin to speak words of life, not death, words of blessing, not cursing, words of hope, hot despair!

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James‬ ‭3:9-12, 17-18‬ ‭ESV)‬‬

This morning I have a choice regarding what I will allow to take residence in my mind. What I allow in my mind will influence my heart. What ends up in my heart will flow out of my mouth. It can be a spring of blessing or a cesspool of cursing. It can produce life, forgiveness, hope, and love – or it can continue to devalue, break down, and curse. Lord, this morning I choose to meditate upon Your Word, to receive the ingrafted Word of God into my mind and heart which can save my soul. Let Your Wisdom from above change my thoughts, guide my meditations, and empower my words to be a blessing to all today!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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