SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- It's interesting that this entire chapter is really about how we treat other people. There is a long section about the power of our tongues (of the words that come out of our mouths), but even there the problems tend to be in how we speak to others. And the problems in how we treat others tend to be driven by "bitter envy and selfish ambition" (verse 14) -- we hold grudges against other people and we care too much about ourselves.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Notice how we're told that "no human being can tame the tongue." The point of this passage is not for us to do a better job of being disciplined about how we treat people or what we say. We're pretty much incapable of that. But God is very capable. The point is to submit ourselves to God, and to seek to live life with His wisdom and power.
- Human wisdom is characterized by bitter envy and selfish ambition. God's wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Honesty time. Is your life characterized more by human or godly wisdom? Where do you need to stop being bitter, envious, and selfishly ambition for your own gain? Where do you need to allow God to help you to be more pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere? Ask God to help you, and commit to living that way.