The Fire that destroys the Soul
These past two weeks have been interesting at our house. As I have shared with you, the sudden onslaught of a kidney stone during the middle of the night brought great wailing and gnashing of teeth. For those who’ve never had one, there are only rumors of the divine sanction this offers to those who’ve been chosen. Let me assure you, it is not a path for the faint of heart!
Not knowing what was wrong, I just prayed for 2 things: the Lord’s quick return or a powerful trance inducing potion to make it go away! Seeing that Jesus chose to tarry (for the moment), the second option worked just fine.
Sitting later that day at the urologist, I discovered that this “stone” was an itsy-bitsy, scanty, minuscule, petite, puny stone halfway on it’s journey towards freedom. How in all of God’s creation could this tiny thing cause me so much agony and torment? Folks, I do not attempt to bamboozle you when I say – it completely ceased all my normal operations for the sole purpose of survival. If you’ve had one – at this point your hands are lifted high as you shout “AMEN”!
“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire”! How can a puny small tiny spark cause a blaze that consumes an entire beautiful forest? But it does! That is exactly what James says. But he’s not talking about a kidney stone. Instead, something small which can also inflict great sickness:
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it 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 3:5-12
James is telling us the dangers of the tongue when used for evil. But notice, the fire is set by hell and there is no human who can tame the tongue. Just like a kidney stone – its’ on fire and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Instead, I must rely on my Doctor to break it up and remove. So – only the Holy Spirit can tame our tongue and use it to bring glory to God and build up the body.
A couple of thoughts here:
- Consider this Biblical truth through a spotlight that shines only on you! God’s instruction is first and foremost for you. Or me! In other words, when I read this, I should NEVER see another person and think “I wish they would practice that” or “I wish someone would tell them that” or “I wish they’d practice what they preach”. God’s instruction is meant to shine a light on me. Not him, her or they! Me Lord…show me! David understood this as he penned Psalm 139:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
- Always use the wisdom and instruction of God’s Word as an invitation to the Holy Spirit to show you grievances. As it applies to the tongue – you cannot control it, only He can. That means you have already allowed it to defile your offerings and bring disunity to your family, your home, your church. Trust me – just like a kidney stone, it has set a blaze to your world and only the Holy Spirit can show you this.
- My kidney stone is not hurting you! Aren’t you glad? Some of you have winced, patted me on the back, offered your prayers. Some of you have just chuckled and offered a “good luck” while wondering what kind of good stories are forthcoming. But understand this – your tongue will set a blaze, but it’s first victim is YOU! But unlike a kidney stone, it is a slow moving cancer that consumes you, changes you, rescinds the power of God in your life, and obliterates your testimony. It will, with time, reduce you to a bitter, angry and caustic soul. Now as a reminder – I hope you don’t see another face than your own. That would be missing the whole point!
- Own it! My kidney stone is not yours to bear. It is mine, all mine. Every ounce of it was created by me. Something I drank, ate and consumed over time has transformed into a painful and unwanted journey. But I can not, in any way, blame my kidney stone on Lisa…or you! (while it might be fun trying – I must admit). I made it, I must deal with it. The same is true with our tongue and our actions. Don’t blame that which is a creation of your own on others. Although the blame game is rampant in our culture, God’s Word does not give you an option. Don’t buy the deceit of my pain is your fault, his fault, their fault. This blaze that has set afire to my world was started by him/them. Nope! It’s your fire – own up to it and allow the Holy Spirit to show you how to squelch the pain of it’s flames.
The realty is this – we all share the burden! Built into everyone of us is this tool (the tongue) which affords great praise and adoration to the Father and our brothers/sisters. But it’s also a time bomb, just ticking and waiting to inflict astonishing misery. In reality – we all need Jesus! My Doctor is the only one who can help me deal with this stone (my stone – whom I’ve fondly named “Rocky”)! So it is also true: only Jesus can bring healing to the freshly burned embers of our lives. So – I offer this corporate prayer:
“Father – your grace is always sufficient for me. You offer your mercy and kindness to me when I am so undeserving and wayward. Search me Lord! Show me Lord! Forgive me Lord for any way that grieves you or impedes your power and plan for my life. Fill me up with your Spirit and send me to live a life that shines brightly in a dark world. Help me to walk in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Allow me to walk in peace and use my tongue for your glory alone! In Jesus name – amen!”
So let it be! I join you in this prayer and walk with you in asking God to do the uncomprehensible and miraculous for His glory!
Thou Oh Lord are a shield for me! The GLORY and breaker of my stone! Wait…it’s The GLORY and the tamer of my tongue. NO – actually I believe it’s: The Glory and the Lifter of my head!
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