You are a walking, talking advertisement for God’s rule in a human life.
Are you an attractive billboard for His message, or a blighted one?
Your manner of life is already sending a message about your relationship with God before the first words ever come out of your mouth. Take heed to the billboard that you are.
Those who would be Christian leaders must first seek to be mature Christians. Christian maturity is achieved only when the tongue is under control. This is what the third chapter of the letter of James is all about.
If you cannot control your mouth, you have work to do. Let James set you straight.
What the verses below have in common is the idea that he who would be a minister of the word must be sure to minister that word to himself as well as to others.
If you are a preacher, be sure that you apply to your own soul the same preaching that you hope your listeners will apply to their souls.
If you are a parent, be sure that you are applying to your own life the spiritual lessons you are teaching to your children.
1 Timothy 4:16
1 Corinthians 9:23
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
– 1 Peter 4:10-11
Note, Christian leader, that it is not your utterances that are the “special gift.” Rather, it is the utterances of God. You are but a steward of those utterances. Be a faithful steward of His “special gifts.”
The saints of God need the utterances of God – that is, His word. They cannot survive without it. Be sure to give them His words when they are spiritual infants. Once they’ve grown, they can feed themselves. But for now, you must feed them lest they starve.
Do not let this be said about you:
The little ones ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.
– Lamentations 4:4
Those who claim to speak in the name of the Lord must always be sure to speak His words and not their own.
John the son of Zebedee gives us a vivid picture of the spiritual growth the Lord wants to work in us.
In the Gospel of John, he presents himself, along with his fellow disciples, as fleshly in orientation. This was early in Jesus’ ministry. For example, Jesus would say to them something like “I have food to eat that you do not know about,” and they would say to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” (John 4:32-33). Jesus was speaking spiritually, but they were still quite fleshly.
In another example (Matthew 16:5-12), Jesus speaks to John and the others about leaven. They think He’s talking about physical leaven, but He’s actually speaking about spiritual leaven.
Note then the great contrast when you get to the book of Revelation, also written by John. That book is so spiritual, and we are so fleshly, that it sounds like gobbledygook to most of us. Yet the same John wrote it that had such a hard time understanding Jesus in the beginning. John had grown. He had matured from a fleshly orientation to a spiritual orientation.
We must go through the sort of change that John did – especially if we are to speak the word of God to others. Remember 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and let not its admonition apply to you. Remember also Hebrews 5:12-14. If you are to teach others the way of Christ, be mature. To be mature means to be spiritual and not fleshly. The apostle John provides a clear example to follow.