Fighting Fires

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire… ESV James 3:5-6

Yesterday I burned a brush pile that had been accumulating in my orchard for over 2 years. It took some work to get the fire started, but eventually it burned down everything but some large pine logs. We had dinner and then prepared for bed and I assumed the fire had burned itself out. Around midnight, I prepared to go to bed and stepped out on my deck to check the fire. As you might expect, it had flared up again, and was burning quite well on one large (10″ diameter) log. The wind had picked up a bit as well. Now the fire was in the middle of a field (100′ at least to nearest woods), but I had heard too many fire stories to allow me to sleep well. So my wife and I began to fight the fire (in our pajamas no less). All our hoses put together left the water stream 5′ short of the fire. So we filled buckets and gradually extinguished it that way. Finally, we slept.

On Saturdays I take stock of myself. My soul, my physical body, my stress level, and yes, my tongue. In the verse above, James compares the tongue to a fire…an out of control fire started by a spark. What words did I say this past week that might be burning damage in relationships that matter to me? What conversations do I assume are over that continue to trouble the people with whom I conversed? What things did I say caused hurt and pain (intentionally or unintentionally). While James indicates no one can tame the tongue, we can ask the Holy Spirit to review our words and conversations and bring things to mind that may need confessing. He did the same to me yesterday. While I was working on the fire, I saw a neighbor I hadn’t seen in years. The Holy Spirit convicted me of things I had said years ago that had caused hurt, and I had to go apologize.

Take stock of your soul today. As part of the process, consider your tongue. What things have you said that have cause hurt? What opportunities to bless did you fail to take? Ask the Lord Jesus to have His Holy Spirit guide your tongue for good this week.

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