DAILY DEVOTIONAL, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2021

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With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:9)

With it we bless our Lord. Both men and women bless God with their tongues. He is not simply referring to men alone here, not to just one specific man. He is saying all men and women can bless God with their tongues.

And Father. It really is absurd that we will use our tongue to praise the Father in one breath and then in the next gossip about, slander, speak poorly of, curse another human that was also made in the image of God. The Greek word here (εὐλογέω eulogeō) rendered bless has the sense of praise, thank, worship.

And with it we curse men. The exact same organ that we use to praise God, we also use to curse men.

Who are made in the likeness of God. Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that we are all made in the image of God. Of course, the level of reflection is fundamental to all, built-in moral values, characteristics, attributes. However, we can refine that reflection the more we become biblically minded, that is, have the mind of Christ. The opposite is true too. The further removed we are from the Word of God because we are following the flesh, the less we will reflect God. So, as we bless God, let us also bless those in His image, even those who may have a little reflection, and who knows, maybe we will win some souls. It should be noted that we do not have to bless or praise the wicked of Satan’s world.

Young Christians

Every human that has ever lived owes their existence to God, the Almighty Creator. This is why we start our prayers with “Father.” In fact, the Model prayer that Jesus gave us starts with, Our Father in heaven, “hallowed be your name.” (Matt 6:9-13) and even the Son of God speaks of him as his Father. Jesus says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35) Therefore, Paul could say in his evangelism, to those who studied Greek philosophy, “[God] himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind … ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ … ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”[1] (Acts 17:22, 25-29) However, in a spiritual sense, he was the father of faithful patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), followed by the nation of Israel, and finally is now the father only of the true Christian congregation. The true Christian congregation seeks to imitate their heavenly Father and his Son by being a part of the world but not using it to the full while developing their qualities.[2]

James’s counsel to the first-century Christian congregation and every true Christian since is especially applicable to how he treats his brothers and sisters within the congregation. However, the implications that fall within the pattern of meaning is, this counsel is not restricted to how Christians interact with one another but also those unbelievers outside of the congregation. – See Matthew 5:43-48.

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27) Of course, God is a spirit person, so this text is referring to God’s qualities as a person, his moral standards, as laid out in the Bible. These qualities include love, wisdom, justice, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and honesty, which set us apart from the animals. All humans are born with a weakened, imperfect conscience that was perfect when God gave it to Adam and Even. Even in this weakened state, it enables humans to reflect the qualities of their Creator. However, if it is ignored to no end, it will grow calloused and unfeeling, failing to work as originally designed. Even the most faithful and devout Christians “fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

Nevertheless, if the Word of God, family and the congregation cultivate the conscience, it can become quite strong even in this fallen condition. (See Romans 2:13-15; Acts 28:1-2.) Imperfection and human weakness are not a license for dealing harshly with anyone, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith. While those outside of the congregation is not in harmony with, but contrary to, God’s personality, standards, ways, and will, no one is inferior to another even if they are in the world. Thus, they should not be viewed with disdain or treated hatefully and abusively because they are not a part of the Christian congregation. (See John 3:16; Rom. 5:7-8; Acts 10:28-29)[3] If we recall from our studies of the Gospels, the Pharisees were guilty of viewing anyone outside of themselves with disdain. In fact, they viewed their people as “accursed.” – John 7:49; Luke 18:9-14.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

If we look throughout the whole of Scripture, we can see that the tongue is supposed to be used for praising God, not for demeaning those created in his image. Because of imperfection and human weaknesses, man has praised God out of one side of his mouth, all the while cursing those in the image of God. The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible says a “curse” is an “invocation of evil or injury against one’s enemies. As practiced in Bible times, cursing was the opposite of blessing and should not be confused with profanity in the modern sense.” (Elwell 1988, Volume 1, Page 560) At times, some of God’s servants were inspired to call curses against others in Old Testament times.[4] There are some cases within the New Testament as well.[5] The apostles were endowed with the power to make such curses on behalf of God, but Christians were not given this authority. Christians were actually encouraged to follow the example of the archangel Michael, “when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil … he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment.” (Jude 1:9) The counsel for Christians is “Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28) In fact, Paul specifically wrote,

Romans 12:14, 17-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 17 Return evil for evil to no one. Take thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath;[6] for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

APPLYING GODS WORD-1 For As I Think In My Heart_2nd Edition Put Off the Old Person

While the Holy Spirit guides Christians by way of the Word of God, they are not inspired, as was true of the apostle and other servants used in Bible times. Therefore, they use their tongue to praise God and to evangelize, but never to curse others. The apostle John wrote, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” If an uninspired person were to speak poorly of someone, to pronounce a curse, evil, or injury on another, it would be an act of hatred, not love. Therefore, if we are uninspired and pronounce a curse on another, our worship of God is empty and useless.

Even if we find ourselves having success in keeping control over our tongue, remember that it is like a trained viper, in that it only takes one good strike to bring death and destruction. For this reason, we must be constant, incessant, and vigilant in keeping guard over our tongue. The greatest abuse by the tongue comes by way of anger; this is why Paul warned, “Be angry and do not sin.” (Eph. 4:26) In other words, have righteous indignation (anger) toward injustice, but do not be provoked into rage or wrath, or even aggressive anger.

[1] The first part of verse 28 comes from Cretica by Epimenides, and the second part of the verse from Hymn to Zeus, written by the Cilician poet Aratus.– (Gangel 1998, 290)

[2] See James 1:27; John 1:11-13; 8:42-44; Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:10-12

[3] Some might ask, “what about those that are clearly enemies of God, like an apostate, an atheist who evangelize against God, and persons such as Muslims who behead Christians?” Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43-44) This does not mean that we love the terrorists, who behead Christians, as we would love our family or a Christian member. Rather, it means that we talk to enemies of God graciously and respectfully, and if an opportunity to share biblical truths with them arises, we take advantage of it. If ever they repent and accept Christ, we forgive and forget as God would.–See Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17; 55:7; Jeremiah 31:24; 50:20; Micah 7:19

[4] See Genesis 9:24-25; 2 Kings 2:23-24; Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34.
[5] See Acts 5:1-10; 13:6-11; Gal. 1:8, 9; 2 Peter 2:14; 2 John 9-11.
[6] That is God’s wrath

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