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Daily Devotional

February 17

Are You For Real? (James 3:1–2)

by the Rev. Larry Wilson

Scripture for Day 48—James 3:1–2

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Devotional:

To say "not many" believers "should become teachers" implies that some believers should become teachers. God explicitly states, however, that most believers should not be teachers. "Not many of you should become teachers, my brethren…" The NIV brings out the insinuation, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers…" Take seriously God's warning against pride and his summons to humility. This is an important Scripture to heed in our day of talk-shows, email, internet discussion groups, blogs, etc. It's amazing how many presume to do precisely what God pointedly tells them not to do. Why not?

First, most believers should not become teachers because of God's judgment—"…for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (v. 1b). Those "who teach will be judged with greater strictness." Therefore, "not many of you should become teachers, my brethren." God will hold you to a higher standard.

Second, most believers should not become teachers because of our sin—"For we all stumble in many ways" (v. 2a). We each sin. And if we sin at all, then we especially sin with our words. "And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body" (v. 2b). Therefore, "not many of you should become teachers, my brethren." "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent" (Prov. 10:19).

What then? Because God does call some believers to be teachers, therefore he at the same time calls every believer to put himself or herself under the godly teachers that he has called. At the same time, take seriously God's implied warning in this Scripture—because all are sinners, do not put an implicit trust in any preacher or teacher. Make sure that your trust is ultimately not in the Lord's instruments, but rather in the Lord himself.


Click here for background on the author of Are You For Real?: Meditations in the Epistle of James for Secret or Family Worship.

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