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Read Introduction to James


“Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?”


In verse eleven, James continues his argument about the incongruity of blessing and cursing coming out of the same mouth. He gives three illustrations toward this end in verses 11 and 12.

Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter

James draws an illogical analogy from nature. The “spring” of water is analogous to our hearts. The heart is the aperture of our attitudes. 

from the same opening?

Both fresh and bitter water does not flow from the same aperture. Water can be fresh, and other waters can be brackishly contaminated with Sulphur or salt. If both fresh and brackish water flowed from the same source, this would be an incongruity

Our words divulge the true condition of our hearts. How can we celebrate God at one moment and then turn around and curse men the next? This is just as incongruous as the spring that sends out salty and freshwater from the same source. 


If we deal with our hearts, that will automatically sort out our mouths.   


The believer must be consistent in both what he says and how he says it. How can we speak loving words to our wives and then a short time later speak harsh words? Why do we hurt those we love with words? We speak from both sides of our mouth. We can both bless and curse from the same mouth. 

If we allow God to judge our hearts, He will change our mouths. Our mouths reveal the contents of our hearts. Pressure and duress bring out the worst in us. When conflict comes, we can say some of the most amazing things. We say things that even surprise us. Therefore, if we want to contend with the tongue, we must start with the heart. 

Spiritual and carnal Christians are always consistent. A spiritual Christian has his heart right with God and demonstrates that by both what he says and how he says it. A carnal Christian will always speak what is consistent with his carnal heart. 

Pr 15:23, “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,

            And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”

Pr 16:24, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,

            Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Pr 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold

            In settings of silver.”

Words of a complaint, discontent, anger, and grumbling do not honor the Lord. How can we share Christ at work if our fellow employees view us as a complainer?