Our house has two smoke detectors in it – one in the kitchen and one in the hallway near the bedrooms. Kevin and I were performing our semi-annual battery check and could not tell if the smoke detector in the kitchen was malfunctioning or if the batteries were dying. So we did what any logical, well-educated couple would do. We set a fire.
The Lord used James chapter 4 recently to remind me that He doesn’t just want us to look like Christians on the outside, He wants us to look like Christ on the inside, too.
Why are my oven mitts also an inch too short when I use them? I have expert skills when it comes to burning myself in the kitchen. I’m running cold water over my finger in the sink before I can figure out what went wrong. The Lord created our bodies with automatic defense mechanisms such as pulling your hand away when it comes into contact with a hot surface. I don’t stand there and think to myself, “Hey Renae, the knuckle of your thumb has reached an unbearable temperature since it has come into contact with the oven rack. Let’s move our hand rapidly away from this heat.” If I had to think through that motion, I would be blistered every time. That reaction saves my skin additional pain.
Unfortunately, not all of our defensive reactions prevent pain. There’s always that tongue of ours that James 3 warns us about. James tells us it’s a restless evil, full of poison, able to set the largest of forests on fire.
Better put Smokey the Bear on high alert because these tongues of our are deadly. We don’t need microphones, megaphones, or large platforms, just a small kindling will do. A harsh word in anger or frustrated complaint when patience is worn thin.