How To Be An Influencer- Part 1

--from October 15th  --
This week’s devotions written by Brandon Miller

Day 1

Read James 3:1-12

The verses you just read will be our focus throughout the week.  Today we focus on verse 1.

3:1  Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

To be completely honest with you, this verse has always been scary to me.  My thought of being judged with greater strictness has always led me to believe that it would be easier to avoid that judgment.  So, in return I will just avoid teaching so that I don’t have to deal with that stricter judgment.

As we were studying together it became apparent to me that as a Christian, if we are evangelizing like we are supposed to, we are often put into the role of teacher whether we want to be or not.  In conversation with non-christians and christians alike are we not often faced with questions about our faith?  As we’re answering or pondering those questions we are often placed into the role of teacher.

Have you been placed into the role of teacher without even realizing it?

Have you spent some time in prayer over accepting this role on occasion?

As we get older we are often placed with more responsibility in this role.  Who has God entrusted to you?  Are you praying over them?  Are you seeking God for the words that you influence them with?

Day 2

Read James 3:1-12

Today we focus on verse 2-4.  It may be depressing to read these verses, because we miss the boat on perfection.  Here in verse 2 we are told something that we’ve already found out through life experience.  We are not perfect and therefore, we cannot be perfect.  Most of us are fully aware of this fact.

Read verse 2-4 one more time, and focus on these verses as you go throughout your day.

Ask yourself throughout the day.  What are the things that my words are driving and how am I using them to steer those around me?  Maybe it is at home with my kids, or even in my marriage.  Maybe it is with my neighbor or co-workers.  But how am I using my words to influence those around me?

Are my movements and motions being controlled by Christ today?

Day 3

Read James 3:5-9

Did you focus on how you handled different situations throughout the day yesterday?  Verse 6 is incredibly straightforward and blunt.  If you’re anything like me, you can think back to certain situations in your life where your tongue has been on fire, a world of unrighteousness.  In the moment we certainly feel justified to say exactly what was said.  Through my experience, I’ve had moments where I’ve instantly been convicted.  Almost instantaneously with the words leaving my tongue I’ve felt conviction.  Other times it takes some time for this to become apparent to you, maybe hours, days, or even months.  Often we can’t even see it on our own, but it takes someone else to help us realize the damage that our tongue has done.

I’m not asking you to think back to a situation where you were harmed by someone else's tongue.  That is easy for us to see.  I’m asking you to look back at a moment when you’ve set a forest ablaze with such a small fire.

Did you repent?  Did you apologize?  What have you learned from this situation and how have you grown from it?  What can you do to assure that you don’t make this same mistake again?

Day 4

Read James 3:10

Yesterday we thought back to a time where our tongue was full of deadly poison.  For some, the moment that we thought of could have brought back some shame and unpleasant memories.  I challenge you to use that as a learning experience only at this point.  In verse 10 we are told that from the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  This is a biblical truth, but with awareness we can focus on more blessing than cursing.
Read Ephesians 4:29

Being aware that corrupting talk has no place coming from a Christian’s mouth is something that we need to constantly remind ourselves of.  Even to the extent of thinking before we open our mouth,”Is this for building up, as fits the occasion?”

Read Proverbs 15:4

How can we keep our tongues gentle today?
Are we aware, but we still speak with perverseness that breaks the spirit?

Day 5

Read James 3:11-12

Our final reminder this week.  In three illustrations of ridiculous natural contrasts, James drives home the point that blessing God while cursing his people cannot be countenanced.  Springs were the key to survival in dry Palestine, and the placement of villages and towns tended to depend on their presence.  Just as no tree would produce two kinds of fruit, so also a true believer would not produce both blessings of God and curses toward others.

I encourage you to truly spend some time pondering the things that come out of your mouth.  The verses we explored this week were extremely straight forward.  Linking the tongue to fire and poison.  Comparing our actions to a spring that would be considered worthless.  

Spend some time in prayer.  Pray that this point doesn’t lose its relevance after this week, but something that we can continue to work on for the foreseeable future.

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