Wednesday 29 April, 2015

James 5:12

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

This verse starts off with, “But most of all” so we know that it is more important than preceding advice given to believers

Believers are encouraged to keep their language simple yet truthful ie. don’t beef things up by swearing an oath to some higher power. Tell it how it is, no more and no less.

Believers will be held to account for the things they say.

This passage reminds us that the words we speak are important. The world we live in has much spin and gloss and I am challenged here to not get caught up in it. Rather God’s word directs us to communicate simply and truthfully. This way our own language can’t tie us up in knots!

Dear Lord, please help me to honour you by letting my “yes be yes and my no be no” Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Richard Botta says:

    James 5:12

    The exhortation “do not swear” echoes the teaching of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. James reminds Christians that integrity lies close to the heart of kingdom life. James is speaking against using oaths to shore up one’s word to make it more believable.

    Christians are to speak plainly, saying “yes” when they mean “yes” and “no” when they mean “no.” If a person’s word is true, and we are known as people of integrity who reflect the values of the kingdom, “yes” and “no” do not need strengthening with an oath, they are simply reliant on an honest character.

    I am challenged by this passage as I am aware of the sense of need I have for ‘supporting’ evidence. Am I too quick to rely on another authority because I question my character.

    Father help me to speak truly in all my words.

  2. Justin Ware says:

    Upon reflection on this passage I realise how much I personally agree to it’s principle, but that I actually need to also continually develop my ability to obey it’s command.

    For me, this passage is dealing with level-of-commitment. It is calling me to simply allow my “yes” to the one, right; wise; well-decided cause; event; project; belief; commitment; meal; routine or discipline mean that the answer is by default “no” to all other options.

    This is not saying that once I am committed to something I have no way out or no excuse to change my plans in the face of an emergency, but it is a call as much to have my priorities clear and lined up as much as my schedule.

    The direct out-working of this all, and the specific call of this passage of scripture is around how I communicate. There should not be varying levels of integrity to my commitment to doing something depending on the framework and context of my commitment, but in every circumstance, my agreement or commitment needs to be simply communicated but with the highest degree of integrity.

    Lord, help me with my priorities, plans and my level of commitment and help me to communicate these in the right way so that I can bring honour to you and peace into the situations where a “no” answer might bring discomfort.

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