Challenge: James 3

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Humility, Prayer, Scripture, Wisdom, Worship 30 Comments

It’s Day 3 of 5 on our journey through the book of James! I hope that as you read, reflect and respond you are growing more in love with our awesome LORD.  Just joining us? No problem! Here are the other JAMES CHALLENGE LINKS:  Day One/Chapter OneDay Two/Chapter Two

james 3.17 wisdom

After you finish your reading, take time to reflect and respond on a personal level with the LORD, then let’s discuss the verses that move us most and the lessons that God is challenging us with in His Word in the comments section below. I really, really, really love to hear from you. AND I really, really, really love when you guys encourage one another! (That’s a lot of reallys!)


READ: Read James 3

REFLECT: Pause to consider how this passage should affect the way you believe and behave. Pray. Journal. Worship.

RESPOND: by leaving a comment below. Today post your favorite verse or share how today’s reading spoke to your heart and spurred you on toward Christ.


Another zinger of a chapter, right? #conviction

TAMING the TONGUE (v1-8)… I love how the Life Application notes in my Bible sum up the verses about the tongue. It says, “What you say and what you don’t say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but it is also controlling your desire to say what you shouldn’t.”

And there you have it. A summary of all summaries. Enough said.

It reminds me of the verse in Proverbs that says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Proverbs 10:19, ESV)

WE PRAISE, WE CURSE (v9-12)… from the same tongue. UUggghhh! We so do. I so do. Lord, please refine me with your holiness!

My heart-thoughts travel to the Old Testament example of the purification that Isaiah experienced when he saw the LORD in His temple…

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

(Isaiah 6:1-7)

GOD’S WISDOM and the WORLD’s WISDOM (v13-18)… are clearly different. I appreciate the specific manner in which James spells it out for us. We can use these verses as a litmus test to determine if our thoughts or responses are using the wisdom of God – or man.

PRAYER of RESPONSE: Lord, Woe is me! For I am a woman of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. But as I fix my heart, mind and soul on You, holy Father, I am reminded of Your grace that washes away every stain and brings purity to my imperfect tongue. Thank You, LORD! Please forgive me. Purify me. Fill me with Your Spirit so that my tongue may be used for good and not evil. Meet me with Your wisdom in the midst of my world, my people, my relationships, my work, my play and my trials. Make me more like You and help me to love and live in Your grace, strength and peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

WORSHIP RESPONSE: Click on the song and allow the song to lead you in continued response…


Thanks for doing life with me! Can’t wait to hear how the LORD moves in you through this challenge.

Warmly in Christ,


PS: If you enjoyed this challenge, let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to my newsletter. Big Bonus: when you subscribe to the newsletter, you will receive a free song download of a my song Quiet Me ! How fun is that?

PSS: The graphics in each challenge post are PINNABLE! Share the challenge on your Pinterest Board simply by hovering over one of the graphics and clicking PIN IT. Easy peasy! :)

PSSS: Got TWITTER? Tweet out what moves you during the challenge and use the hashtag#jameschallenge (I tweet at @GwenSmithMusic)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments 30

  1. This idiom has been with me these last few years and I share with family and friends…”If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything.” We should always look for the good in any situation and try to build people up so as to point them in the right direction of the gospel after all that’s really what matters… our future eternity!!!

  2. So much to take in while reading this chapter. I love the analogy of the tongue being compared to the rudder of a ship (v4) and to a spark that can start a forest ablaze (v5). The ship is guided by the pilot and like the tongue used for good, the other, perhaps unintentional, can destroy. Our words either tear down or build up and we need to choose our words so carefully thinking of the repercussions that can come as a result. Always a good reminder. We remember how words, good or bad, made us feel when spoken. And even if an apology is given, it can be hard to forget the words or how we felt when they were spoken.
    I also love v17 and the many qualities that we can pray over our life that can give us the wisdom that can only come from Christ!!

  3. I am so grateful I decided to do the James challenge!!! Verse 17 stuck out to me and i pray that i have peace-loving, consideration, to be submissive, full of mercy and good fruit and to be impartial and sincere! I pray that when the James challenge is over i can go back as a frequent reminder to myself of how important these things are in my walk with God!! Not only is God watching but, my children and my goal is to be the best role model I can be for my little eyes aannnd ears!! Please God Tame my tongue AMEN!!!

    1. So wonderful to pray scripture over our lives and the lives of others. Thanks for sharing about how verse 17 spoke to your heart. And so true that we have little eyes watching and little ears listening – and they pick up on so much, even when we are unaware. Always praying that I am living my life the way God intended me to so that I can be that role model for my children as well.

  4. Catching up today. If the book of James is effective in our lives, we will all come out of this realizing how much GRACE we need, and how CONVICTING and CHALLENGING God’s Word is. We can NEVER measure up, as humans. So that element of grace is the lifesaver. We have communion coming up at church soon, and James is a great chapter to lead into that – not because it talks about communion, but because it is possibly the most convicting book in the Bible and helps me to set my heart straight: I am a sinner, I am human, I myself am evil, the love of Jesus MUST rule my heart and my life. I NEED JESUS. Communion will be awesome.

  5. Yes. I’m also a Gwen. Not a Gwendolyn nor any lengthened version! Oh my child tongue would complain of my name but it was special to my Mom and I was born on her Cousins birthday…so I got her name!! So now my tongue does not complain but accepts this unique name.
    The first verse jumped at me for I’ve been a Sunday School teacher many years of my life, a children’s church leader, VBS teacher many times and leader, and a teacher of elementary students and university students. Although I’ve heard that this refers here to our “preacher” it says “teacher” and I think of mistakes I’ve made along those years and years of teaching and my standard will be higher. If I were a wiser young person, I would have bowed in prayer praying this verse each morning.
    And it is always good for me to revisit James to remind me to tame my tongue. Then to end with wisdom’s definition ~~my earthly father was so much like this I’ve seen heavenly wisdom in action. May I pray to be humble, kind, sweet yet not a doormat in my speech, sincere, and let my lips praise.

  6. Reading through James again has been so good for me and my kids. I decided to go through James with them too! Anyway, I very much needed to be reminded, rebuked really, by what I’ve read in chapter 3. My mouth tends to get me in trouble, always has. I used to get in trouble for talking in school and I seem to put my foot in my mouth too many times. Not thinking before I speak sometimes! But, more than that, I say things that are hurtful, especially to those I love. I am so thankful that we can go to God in prayer, confess our sins and ask for forgivenes! We can also ask for wisdom and the ability to think before we speak. To speak blessings instead of hurtful things. We can “Speak Life” as Toby Mac has put it. Thank you Jesus!

  7. This book is amazing……yesterday’s reading about taming the tongue is so close to home. Sometimes we forget how powerful and destructive the tongue be. May God remind us to be of few words.

  8. I sure am thankful fir the grace of God! The Lord’s grace & mercy make a way for us all to one day live in Heaven for all eternity. How awesome that our Lord left His word for us to keep a check on what we do or say that is not pleasing to Him. Praise His Holy name for His strength, love, mercy, and forgiveness!

  9. I love chapter 3 it revealed to me over again how important this chapter is with the way we speak i thank God for remembrance of his word and corrections. Praise God

  10. Having read James 3, i was reminded that i had said hurtful things. This is a good reminded for me… 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

  11. After reading this yesterday morning, I had the chance to share the part about the taming the tongue with one of my students who, in my class, decidedythat she was going to proceed and telling us about a situation with another young lady,,,, I just printed out the verse, handed it to her, and told her to read,,, it’s amazing how she instantly calmed down. Lisa Massey, Palatka, Florida

  12. I’m going to be honest this was a conviction. I’ve been a bit loose with the tongue. I did some praying and I am sure that He will stop me in the future from being so careless with the tongue.

  13. My husband and I had a discussion on this chapter recently and I’m reminded of a message that stuck with me from a recent sermon, your toungue speaks the truth from your heart. What we think about and dwell on reflects our hearts which in turn reflects our speech. I know I tend to “stuff-it” which than I tend to dwell on things and it than explodes almost always from the smallest thing and not so nice things come out. I also think of my daughter and pray for her as she struggles with lying. It is amazing how something so small can be so powerful. God bless

  14. I know the primary topics in this chapter are wisdom and the tongue but neither of those stood out to me as much as verse 1. The first Sunday of June marks 30 years that I’ve been teaching the kids in my church. A little warning to keep me on my toes.

  15. WOW – God is communicating directly with me through this reading. Specifically verses 9, 11, and 13 – 18. I LOVE when God reaches out to me just when I need it, and when I need tools to reach others 🙂 Thank you Gwen for challenging me to read James this week.

  16. I so enjoyed reading this morning and listening to every word I was reading. It’s amazing how the word can touch your heart in ways that you can see where you are lacking and need to improve with the help of the Lord. I’m so thankful for His Grace, Mercy and Loving kindness. I so enjoyed worshiping with the music and listening to every word of the song. Thank you, Gwen!

  17. Wow, I think that I need just one word to sum up this chapter: conviction. So many times, I get discouraged when I read verse 8, because it sums up what I already know about myself; “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

    Also, the last few verses hit me like a wall, because, according to them, wisdom is either heavenly or demonic. One or the other, no middle ground.

    This passage makes me soooo much more grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

  18. I too am enjoying the reading of James. So many things that apply to me. My Women of Faith Bible talks of “Taming the Tongue” … Consider for a moment the greatest compliment you’ve ever received. Now think of the greatest insult. One brought such joy, the other such pain; yet the tongue achieved both. I pray I remember this every day.

    1. That is so true, Debbie. Thanks for the reminder. Often we don’t even remember the words but we remember how the person tore us down or built us up.

  19. I’m loving the reading of James, everyday has brought awareness to areas of my life, but chapter 3 is the “tongue” my greatest weakness. I pray everyday for wisdom and to think before blurt out what has just pop in my head..thank you and God bless your ministry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *