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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Neither filthiness, neither foolish talking, neither jesting – which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks. – Ephesians 5:4

– Jest not with the two-edged sword of God’s Word. – Thomas Fuller

Our word “jester” is derived from the Anglo-Latin “gestour” – meaning “minstrel.”  In medieval times, kings and noblemen often needed a person who could minister to the spirits of their people through the use of humor.  So, most of them had a court jester ready at their disposal to do such a thing.  These comedians were generally seen as buffoons simply brought in to brighten the moods of those in attendance, who might be brooding, frustrated, or feeling down about life.

The jester would be decked out in brightly colored clothes – to further help lighten the atmosphere of the setting.  Setting about entertaining and amusing the crowd, often cracking jokes about current events and making sarcastic wisecracks about people well-known to the audience – outside the kingdom walls, of course.  Once the show was over … so was the job of the jester.  They weren’t taken seriously by anyone who might meet they walking the streets afterwards.

In the modern world, jesters are typically known as comics.  They are found almost anywhere around the world, and people typically pay money to see them perform.  All to hear what appear to be witty remarks, bantering comments, and good-natured ribbing.  Just like the jesters of yore, they crack jokes about worldly situations or events of the day, and make wisecracks about well-known individuals like politicians, athletes, and movie-stars familiar to most in the audience.

However, there is a fine line between humor and hurt. Words are a powerful tool God has given us.  They can heal or harm.  We will be justified or condemned for eternity by the words we speak on earth (Matthew 12:37).  Some people – including Christians, make it a very nasty habit of spewing forth spirit-bruising wisecracks about those deemed less fortunate, or who’ve made a mess of life.  If famous, they become society’s laughing-stock to mock and make fun of.

There isn’t any humor in hell, or anything funny about burning there forever.  Salvation is serious business with God, or else He would not have crucified His only Son for us.  It is not to be a laughing matter – ever. Foolish talking has no part in Christian fellowship, nor does it belong in witnessing to lost and unbelieving souls.  Jesting or joking of any kind has no place n a relationship with Jesus.  Sadly, it does, and it always gives place to the devil’s devices (Ephesians 4:27).

Having said all this, loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27) – is not about having a good time in life (1 Corinthians 15:19).  It is not about yukking it up, playing practical jokes and/or pulling pranks, or trying to yank somebody’s chain in a world where Satan retains power over all deaths until Jesus returns (Hebrews 2:14).  Christ is the only example we need to know there is nothing funny in going about our Father’s business daily (Luke 2:49).

Jesus did not go around cracking jokes or poking fun at people like the Pharisees and Sadducees – or even the twelve disciples.  Then saying things such as “Just kidding” – or “I didn’t mean it” to someone like Simon Peter if he looked a bit peeved or put off at something Christ perceived to be funny.  Or, telling another like Andrew he needed to lighten up, go let his hair down and have some fun – for he was being far too serious and over-cautious (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 5:14-15).

Christianity can’t be the fodder for comedic sketches and routines … no matter how innocent or harmless they might seem.  The only ones finding any humor in heavenly issues are those making light of salvation (Matthew 22:5).  They have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18).  Why would they have a reason to be terrified, when they’ve managed to take hell’s keys away from Him; letting themselves into heaven while on earth (Luke 12:5, Revelation 1:18)?

Consequently, they have turned their steadfast focus back to having fun and rollicking good times on earth (Colossians 3:2) – even in church (Ecclesiastes 7:4). Minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) , staying entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), pursuing its pleasures (James 5:5), and attending to far more vital worldly business and merchandise (Matthew 22:5). After all, heaven is in the bag, along with the latest comic CD by some Christian funny man or woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Even so, the tongue is a little member – and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles. – James 3:5

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown – but we an incorruptible one. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Just as the tiny rudder of a great big ship can be used to control its movements, steering its direction along certain courses (James 3:4) – so can our tongues steer the path of these days God has given each of us.  Depending on what we say – or don’t. The commentary which comes out of our mouths can steer conversations into contention, confusion, or contentment.  The direction of our day follows.

Death and life are in the power of our tongues – and those who love it will eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Words from our mouths can be hurtful and wounding – helpful and healing (Proverbs 12:18). Our tongues can touch off wildfires – the flames of which can be tough to tame (James 3:6).  Wars of words often ensue.  We’re warned not to do this as believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

What comes into us from the outside can’t defile us. But just like our bodies, our hearts and minds are vessels.  They can only hold so much in before something spills out.  What then flows forth from our lips can quickly defile us.  Wrong words from our tongues seal the deal of defiling our whole bodies (Matthew 15:11,18-20).  The damage is done once words are out (James 3:6).

It’s hard to hold our tongue back sometimes – but it’s much harder to take our words back once spoken. Even when we say we’re sorry – sorrow has been sown.  We could have reopened a wound in another person’s heart – scarred by a previous hurtful word spoken years ago by someone else.  It takes asking God to set a watch before our mouths at times – to keep the door of our lips closed (Psalm 141:3).

This is where temperance comes in as Christians. Just as a ship’s captain gently steers the course of any vessel with a rudder, so does a shepherd gently steer the course of any flock with a staff.  We have been born again of the Spirit as Christians (John 3:5).  We were once astray – but have now been returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  All control now belongs to Christ.

Jesus now dwells in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we start producing the spiritual fruit God requires – to show the results of our mutual abidance in each other (John 15:1-5).  One such desired fruit is temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Temperance is the practice of always controlling our actions and feelings – regardless of situation or circumstance.

It’s moderation and self-restraint in behavior and expressions.  So we don’t always act or speak on assumptions; jumping to conclusions (Joshua 22:1-34).  So we don’t always give people a piece of our mind with our mouth.  We’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  So ours are no longer conformed to the world – but transformed to be like Christ’s (Romans 12:2).  To give us peace of mind.

Still, we are flesh.  Even with the Holy Spirit in us – the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  They are contrary – one to the other (Galatians 5:17) – so we don’t always do or say the things we would (Romans 7:19-20).  In order to learn mastery – to be temperate in all things (second lead verse), we have to be taught so by the Master.  It’s essential to taming our tongues.

Everything we speak, starts as a thought.  These thoughts travel from our brains to our tongues.  For example, emotions often emerge from our mouths in word – when we’ve thought about things like love or hate long enough.  Once we start talking, people may want to stay with us – or walk away forever, depending on our words.  Once a person leaves because of them – it’s hard to get them back

As our minds are transformed daily by God’s truth, we should begin talking much more about the Word (Philippians 3:20) – and much less about the world. However, even speaking the truth requires some temperance.  Jesus didn’t always talk and teach. Christ also spent time praying and reflecting. When the Son of man did speak, it was always relevant to the situation.

The words which leave our lips about the Lord can go a long way to drawing the lost closer to the Cross – or driving them away (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 5:6).  Yes, whatever we say requires a tongue of temperance – whether it’s truth or not.  Remember, God always knows our words before we say them (Psalm 139:4) – and we will be judged for every idle word we ever spoke (Matthew 12:36).

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