James 3:1 – Don’t Look Bad in Front Of God
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
As we continue our ongoing study of the book of James, we have now transitioned from one subject matter to another. Well…not completely. In a few verses James is going to bring up the concept of works demonstrating faith once again – tying it in to the current theme.
But for now we set that one aside and take up a new problem that needs to be dealt with: the human tongue.
Now if you read the verse above, you notice that the tongue is not mentioned. However, as we dive into this subject, this verse represents the author’s overarching concern when it comes to the control of our mouth muscle.
So let’s break this introductory verse down a little, shall we?
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers…
James is telling us that to be a teacher within the church is not something to be entered into lightly. This speaks to a misconception that I have seen more than once in my years of ministry, namely, that real ministry takes place in front of people.
This erroneous view of what constitutes true service has been responsible for giving many, many unqualified or incapable individuals the awe-inspiring job of teaching God’s people, a tragedy that has wreaked havoc in many a local church.
It is hard to overstate the damage that can be done by teachers who shouldn’t be teaching. Uninstructed novices can unwittingly disseminate heresy. Wolves can destroy from within. Compromised testimony can bring scandal to the name of Christ.
It is interesting, therefore, to see James’s reasoning.
…knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
In other words, don’t jump too hastily into a position of teaching leadership…for your own good. Understand that if you take it upon yourself to teach others, you will be held to a higher account: by God.
This text always reminds me of the following video:
Whatever one may think about this beleaguered pastor’s delivery, at least he has a solid understanding of where his ultimate responsibility lies. “You’re making me look bad in front of God!”
If you are teaching in the Church, God is listening and taking notes, and you will be held to account for the things you say.
Why is this such a fearful proposition? Well…stay tuned for next week.
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