“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 3:9–12
Imagine you had the opportunity to visit the president of the United States at the White House. Wouldn’t that be exciting? How do you think you would speak to him? Would you be loud and mouthy? Would you be cracking jokes? Would you ask him to hook you up with a souvenir from the oval office?
Of course not!
That would be profoundly disrespectful. But why would it be profoundly disrespectful?
One of the main reasons it would be so disrespectful is because the office of the president carries with it a certain level of dignity. No matter who is president, God calls us to honor that individual. Because it is a privilege to be in the presence of one of the most powerful men in the world, it is wise to use words that show respect.
In the same way, in verse 9, James calls us to recognize other human beings not with a relaxed sense of normalcy but rather with the awareness that all of us are created in the image of God. In our human minds and bodies, we bear the stamp of God. This alone should require us to measure our words. We should show respect for the pinnacle of God’s creation—us, the image bearers of God!
If we cut people down with hurtful words, it shows God that we don’t respect his highest creation. God cannot be pleased.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1–3
- Since we have been called by God, how are we to act?
- What can help us remember that we are all created in God’s image?
Father, thank you that we are created in your image. May we view one another with a sober recognition of how you are over all of us. We want to honor you, and we know we can do that by treating all people with respect, especially with our words. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This devotion is adapted from the James Study Guide. Pick up a copy today for only $9.99. The Study Guide includes a 15-week curriculum, a small group study, a group inductive study, as well as 75 daily devotions for your personal or family worship.