Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Temptations

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Mine are mostly of the tongue. I am not tempted by alcohol. I am not tempted to commit adultery, at all. I am not tempted to steal or to bow before a statue. But I am tempted to answer my husband sharply. I am tempted to speak flattery (“minimal” falsehoods (that really aren’t minimal), to lie, to gossip, to speak the words of a busybody, to spend more time commenting on Facebook than contemplating in His book.

The writer of James tells us that, if we can control the tongue, we can conquer the whole body (James 3). Conversely, what that tells me is that, unless and until I can have the mastery over the tongue, the whole “rest of me” is vulnerable. The way the devil gets to the rest of me is through deceit, gossip, slander, disrespect and malice of the tongue. 

I can see how this works. If I am comfortable hurting someone with my tongue (or my  keyboard) then I am hardening my conscience about malice, and soon, I may lose my self control in other, more physical ways. If I lose control of my tongue in disrespect to my spouse, I am leaving my life vulnerable to disobeying him and/or publicly disrespecting Him. It’s like a wildfire growing out of control and hurting those in its path. (I think I read that in a book!) 

See, sin never lies dormant. It grows. I have waited three weeks for my heirloom tomato seeds to sprout something green in those little cups in my window. The plants are just not going to happen and I am sad. I coddled those little seeds, watering just the right amount and leaving them in the sunlight. I could not wait to show my friend in Missouri, who gave me those precious seeds, my sandwich-sized tomatoes! 

But, can I ever grow weeds! You don’t have to coddle sin. You just throw it somewhere in your world and it can grow anywhere. That’s why it’s called the “tares” (Matthew 13:25,26). I wish you could get a green thumb award for growing weeds. I can grow weeds like nobody’s business. That’s how sin is. Just let one weed get in your garden out there and you’ve got enough to “pull out” or eliminate to keep you busy for the whole growing season.

It’s especially true with a lie. I know people who cannot stop. I really do believe they have lied so very long that they have hardened themselves to truth. They have all but lost the ability to discern the difference between speaking a lie and speaking truth. Sometimes they convince themselves that the lies upon which they are building their lives, are truth. I’m sad for these people because it is a miserable way to live, wondering about exposure all the time and worrying about who knows what. I want to live so that, when I hear that someone has said something awful about me, that I am not worried about exposure, but rather I want the truth about my life to be laid bare. I want the truth about my life to be fully exposed. 

There are just some passages that you believe, in theory, when you are twelve years old. You believe them then because they are in the Bible and the Bible is true. But when you’re 64, you have come to “believe” them in a whole different way. You believe them in a practical way, You have seen the tangible, palatable, real-world effect of both the reverence for the passage and the disregard of the scripture. That’s why James is often called the most practical book of the Bible. And what James 3 says about the tongue is some of the most applicable, practical truth in all of the striving Christian’s world. The fire can rage in your world. Or the fire can be doused every time before it spreads. I want to have my Lord’s truth, His water of life to douse my fire every time before the damage is done.  

 

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