"This diagnosis is even more true of the soul. According to the Apostle James the tongue is an unerring sign of spiritual condition. Like mercury the tongue tells the temperature. As the fever increases the tongue becomes expansive. Its output is very often the most telling projection of what a man really is. That is why by our words we shall be justified or condemned. That is why the unpremeditated activity of the tongue will have to be accounted for in the day of judgement. The absolute nature of the Apostle James' teaching about the tongue is often overlooked. He says it can defile the whole body. Jesus said that the forces which defile come from inside. The tongue is an outlet for internal influences, some of which are tainted with defilement. "The things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart." In the list are evil thoughts, murder, false witness and fornication. At the worst stage of the disease the possibilities are awful. That is why James is so absolute. The Apostle does not beat about the bush. He says emphatically, "The tongue is a fire." He means that by it the spirit is inflamed. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth." In the R.V.: "Behold how much wood ... "James' wood is a forest. A forest fire is a fearful thing started sometimes by one careless ember, multiplied many times as it spreads: in James' metaphor a wheel that catches fire as it goes. Think of it on a practical level. Sometimes those who meet together on Sunday and speak of love and fellowship, on Monday change their overcoat and say things which are harsh, unloving and censorious. As it spreads, the fellowship is fevered and friendships are soured. The ecclesia is harmed and the cause of the Truth is hindered. The smouldering fire runs on and the innocent are scorched and blistered."
Brother Dennis Gillett