Faith with Feet – What we Say and What we Sow – James 3


Charles Billingsley

The human tongue only weighs a few ounces, but what a powerful weapon it is.  it is not just used for swallowing.  Without it, we cannot form words. We have to have a tongue in order to talk.  And those who are most convincing with their talk, rule the world.  It is the tongue that is perhaps the most potent weapon on earth because it has the power to sway the heart and manipulate the mind.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.


If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.

When we can’t hold back, or set boundaries, on what comes from our lips, our words are in charge-not us. But we are still responsible for those words. Our words do not come from somewhere outside of us, as if we were a ventriloquist’s dummy. They are the product of our hearts. Our saying, “I didn’t mean that,” is probably better translated, “I didn’t want you to know I thought that about you.” We need to take responsibility for our words. “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36). – Henry Cloud

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

What does the Bible have to say about all this? a great deal!!!

Proverbs 26: 20 (ESV)

Fire goes out without wood,

and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

Proverbs 20:19 

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Proverbs 16:28 (ESV)

A dishonest man spreads strife,

and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 10:19 (ESV)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever refrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 17:27-28

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,

and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;

when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

James 3:7-12

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.


Proverbs 12:18 (ESV) – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

1. We put feet to our faith by what we say

A. Be careful what you say

B. Be careful how you say it

We must learn how to communicate – and remember, Communication is not just what we say… is what they are hearing!  You can say things in a certain way, but depending on how you say it…it can be misconstrued and taken wrongly…and suddenly you’ve offended someone and didn’t even know it.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Four things you can’t recover from your words:

1. the word after it’s been said

2. the blow after it’s been delivered

3. the pain from the blow

4. the scar that it leaves

C. Be careful when you say it

Proverbs 15:23 (NLT) – Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time

James 1:19 – “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.”


The maturity of our speech is the mark of maturity in our life. 

Psalm 141:3 (ESV) – Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Be careful with what you say, how you say it, and when you say it!

  1. 2. We put feet to our faith by what we sow

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

A.  Live in wisdom 

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

B. Live in peace

18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Romans 10:9 (ESV) – ” if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Remember Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and Life are in the Power of the tongue.”

Our faith is fleshed out in what we say and what we do.  

Faith without works is dead.  Words without works are useless.