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Heart Check



The fourth message from THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING centers around the part of you that can cause the most destruction, your tongue. James calls us out on the words we use and the impact they can have on the world around us.

Key Takeaway

The power of life and death lies in the tongue. You have to decide whether you are going to plant an orchard with it or burn the forest down. Humble yourself. Accept God's grace. Allow the Holy Spirit to develop in your self-control. Speak life over yourself and others.

The right combination of a few words can absolutely obliterate your entire life. Our words impact our future.

Recap: James 1:26-27 says that if you have a relationship with Jesus and don't keep a tight rein on your tongue, you deceive yourself. Then, he talks about caring for the widows and the orphans. James 2 unpacks how we do that, how we don't show favoritism, how we don't give false hope. James 3 shows us what it looks like to tame the tongue.

James has a target audience.

  1. A lot of people had the talk but not the walk.
  2. Someone had the talk and was tearing the Church apart.

James takes them head-on because it is usually always the issue, even today.

What does he say about the tongue?

  1. The tongue is tiny, but its power is titanic. James 3:3-5 says it has the power to give direction to your entire life. It also has the titanic power to destroy and compares it to a spark of fire that destroys everything. (James 3:6-7)
  2. The mouth makes the sound, but the heart is the source. (James 3:9-11)
  3. Issues of the heart are put on display. James 3:13- the word humility is key to this passage. If you struggle with your mouth, it's a spirit of pride that can be mitigated by the power of God in your life. We default to "I wish I hadn't said that." or "I don't know why I said that."
    • Gossip takes different forms. One is tearing the other down. Somehow, we feel better about our identity by tearing another person's identity down. The other type of gossip is telling all the information you know because it makes you look good or be thought of as more important. Incessant intercessors would fall into this category.
    • Naysayers- they constantly have to tell why something isn't going to work out and how they know better.
    • Toppers- they have to top every story, every time.

These are all heart issues. You are stealing the joy out of everything to make yourself feel better. It shows we're not at peace yet with who we are.

James 3:13-16 is backed up by Luke 6:43, which says out of the overflow, our heart speaks. Your heart moves your mouth. There's something in your heart that God needs to heal: bitter envy and selfish ambition.

  • Envy- jealousy, I want what I don't have, I want what you have, I don't want you to have what you have
  • Bitter- means malignant, it's cancerous, unchecked, undealt with, it's working its way into everything.
  • Selfish Ambition- I want my way ahead of everybody else's way. I will get myself to the place I want to be, even at the cost of destroying everyone else in the process. I'll get my way over God's way.

Here's how it works itself out

  • James 3:15 says this "wisdom" is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. It causes disorder (verse 16).
    • Disorder: disturbance, upheaval, revolution, anarchy, unsettled, unstable, cannot stand, instability, commotion, confusion, things being out of control, this being up for grabs, uncertainty, and tumult that will inevitably generate more instability.
    • This is how the enemy works. He looks for the unchecked bitter envy and selfish ambition in the heart and moves into words that tear everything apart.
  • James contrasts the wisdom of God, which turns chaos into order underneath Him. The counterfeit wisdom of the enemy takes order and turns it into chaos through bitter envy and selfish ambition. He highlights this in James 4:1-3.

What's the solution?

It's not just to zip out lips but to bend our knees. Get back to humility. James pulls no punches to those tearing down the Church with their words. In James 4:4, he calls them adulterous people. Why? He's pointing out that they are acting like Jesus isn't enough for them. They say they want to be the Bride of Christ, but they look like they are still dating the world. Four times, submission and humility are put together. James is trying to lead us to see that our worth and value come from God, and He will lift us up in due time. We don't have to tear down others to get to where God wants us to be. We, in humility, can trust God and not try to make things happen. We have the grace to get us under God so God can hold us up.

Outcomes in our lives when we come under God.

  1. The Spirit of God will lead us with a healing heart to say what is true in love only when it's really necessary. If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind? You don't have to speak everything you want. Ephesians 4:29-30 says not to let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth. You speak only what is helpful. Don't grieve the Spirit who is trying to give you self-control and help you tame your tongue.
  2. Publicly celebrate and cheer others. It's a great way to stick a knife into the bitter envy. Make a habit of celebrating others in public. Use the twinge of jealousy to use your words to celebrate someone's success rather than push it down. It's hard to privately put down what you've already publicly celebrated.
  3. Seek and make it your ambition to say less and not more. This is the type of wisdom that comes from above. "Maturity is realizing how many things don't require your comment."
  4. The power of life and death are in the tongue. Choose life. See Proverbs 18:20-21. This includes our own lives. "I don't know how this is going to work." or "I'm never going to be able to change," etc. We are speaking lies over ourselves. We have to get under God, take on the Authority and mindset of Christ, and speak to ourselves what He says about us. "I don't know how to overcome any of this, but God does, and I am walking with Him. He is powerful and mighty and able to bring me to the other side. I am loved by Him."

The tongue is tiny, but there's so much power in it. In it lies the power of life and death. Decide to plant an orchard rather than burn down a forest with it.


"If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?"

Louie Giglio

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Scripture References

  • James 3:9-15
  • James 4:8
  • James 4:1-4
  • Galatians 5:19-23
  • Ephesians 4:29-30
Louie Giglio

Global Pastor

Louie Giglio Louie Giglio is the Visionary Architect and Director of the Passion Movement, comprised of Passion Conferences, Passion City Church, Passion Publishing and sixstepsrecords, and the founder of Passion Institute.