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Fresh Waters

Fresh Waters

Words of Faith 5-13-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 3:7-11

    All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?  My brothers, can a fig tree bear olive, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


        Playing back the tapes of memory can be a frightening thing if we ever are quiet long enough to do so.  Often, we realize that the very things we never wanted to say have recently come from our mouths.  And the words of faith we thought we could always proclaim anywhere got stuck in our throats.  This matter of the tongue is not easy. 

       But don't misunderstand. James was saying more than just "try harder."  Taming the tongue is not just a matter of stronger willpower and more resolve.  No one can tame the tongue.  Say again?   No one, man or woman, saint or sinner can tame the tongue.  So, are we now bordering on hopeless?  And what a description.  The tongue is restless, evil, poison.  Even as religious people, we are shocked to hear both praise and curses coming from our own same mouth.  What are we to do?

         Paul described this same struggle as a part of our war between the Spirit and our sin nature. To paraphrase Paul in Romans 7:15-- "I do not understand what I say. For what I want to say, I do not say, but what I hate to hear, I find rolling from my mouth."   So just what IS the answer?

        James gives the answer in a sort of classic rabbinical teaching style.  The answer is in a question: Can both freshwater and saltwater flow from the same spring?  Of course not.  The answer is that until the spring is fresh, you cannot expect anything but brackish water.   Again, in case we did not get it, "My brothers, can a fig tree bear olive, or a grapevine bear figs?  Of course not.  Until the actual root of the tree is changed, the fruit can never be anything different than its root.

         What is the answer?  A radical transformation.  Not just fruit adjustment or a pail of freshwater.  A root change.  A new spring.  The fruit of curses, gossip, rage, coarse talk, or ethnic epithets... all these are the fruit of something inside that is not surrendered to Jesus.  Perhaps even a sign that spiritual renewal still needs to take place.  The answer begins when we are born from above, but it does not stop there, and the result is not instantaneous. 

        I had a friend some years ago who accepted Christ.  He was a fine musician but had always been a vile mouthed rebel.  His first prayers to the Lord shocked me because even his prayers were peppered with profanity.  But almost immediately, the transformation began without reprimand or correction.  The brackish water became less and less salty as God cleaned up his mouth. Today, his mouth flows with the freshness of God.

        What I observed was that as the Spirit of the Holy God had His way in this life, my friend was sanctified or slowly made more like Jesus.  The wellspring of God cleansed his heart, and his mouth followed.  God still does that.  It is not a matter of trying harder.  There isn't anything we can do besides surrender to Him.  We must face the salt we effusing and surrender to God.  God will do the cleaning, whether it is profanity or just mean spirited "Christian gossip."  He is in the business of making all things new.



     Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cleanse me today so that pure water may run from the spring of my life.  Place sweet fruit upon my lips that my words may bless and encourage and build.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.