Come Follow Me LDS- James Part 2 (Nov 18-24)

‘Speech, Envy & Prayer’

–  James’ focus on Speech as a gift and tool

–  More speech = more responsibility

– Envy is covetousness. It is similar to sign-seeking.

–  Prayer can be used similarly to the atonement- by proxy

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Come Follow Me LDS- James Part 2 (Nov 18-24)

‘Speech, Envy & Prayer’ – James’ focus on Speech as a gift and tool – More speech = more responsibility – Envy is covetousness. It is similar to sign-seeking.

Come Follow Me for Individuals and Families

LDS, Mormon

Raw Transcript

o in this episode we’re going to cover


chapters three to five and the theme

here is speech and James goes in and

talks a lot about how we should speak

how we should use this gift from God if

you will and this our communication to

better the church and to better

ourselves there’s some more wisdom in

here on how to use speech what not to do

what we should do but the theme here in

these few chapters is all about our

speech now as you recall going back

several episodes and I suppose have

referenced it a few times but speech to

me is the second phase of the four

phases of the priesthood that I go

through so it would be the second phase

of the Aaronic priesthood right the

first phase is about agency and the

second phase is about speech think about

John the Baptist right as he is out

crying repentance out in the wilderness

he is a an ironic priesthood icon and

speech has to do with the individual so

it’s it’s going from our agency our

choice creating ourselves into the image

of God so to speak and then our speech

is how we are then using our

individuality to work with others and to

start to move outside of ourselves for

good or for bad so let’s go through this

and we can see this theme develop

throughout these chapters starting in

verse 3 we get here my brethren be not

many masters or don’t have too many

teachers knowing that we shall receive


greater condemnation so again right into

speech he’s saying as a teacher when you

were expounding on the word and if you

start swinging people into the wrong

direction the wrong doctrine and then

then you’re going to have a greater

condemnation because of your use of

speech and so being a teacher puts you

into a higher position of responsibility

because of speech and he follows that up

in verse 2 with 4 in many things we

offend all If any man offend not in word

the same is a perfect or a completed man

and able also to bridle the whole body

right so it’s going to go through how

our tongue our speech is the most

difficult thing to bridle and if we can

bridle that then we should be able to

bridle all of our passions as well now

he says offend here I think it’s

important to understand well again this

is my thought on this only but it

doesn’t mean be button-down and timid

around people so that you don’t offend

anybody again we’re moving into a very

triggered culture right now where there

are more and more rules on speech and as

we are more and more connected through

geography and technology and

transportation the rules are getting

stricter and stricter on words you can

say approaches you can make how you

communicate one with another between the

sexes even within your family things are

changing pretty fast and it’s moving

toward oh I’m offended at this I’m

offended at that and so that’s not what

I think James is saying here it has

nothing to do with worrying about oh I

need to bridle my speech in the sense

that I just need to be very careful and

timid around everybody he’s saying don’t

be offensive in the sense of trying to

stir up contention don’t be offensive

in going against the will of God as he

says here as being a teacher right your

you have a higher responsibility for

what you say and if you’re going against

the doctrine then you’re that much more


same thing with offense if you’re going

against truth if you’re trying to stir

contention then you’re misusing the gift

that you’ve been given of speech down

here in verse six he says and the tongue

is a fire a world of iniquity so is the

tongue among our members that had

defileth the whole body and set it on

fire the course of nature and it’s set

on fire of hell so some pretty strong

words about how we use our speech how we

communicate with those around us and

here by the way in verse six at the end

here when he says and it is set on fire

of hell this is a reference it’s he

actually uses Gehenna which is the

valley to the south side of the city of

Jerusalem which is where they’re very

likely was actually human sacrifice and

where a lot of garbage was taken – and

so just as we get different name places

that are used like Armageddon they’re

used as an idea as a principle as a part

of doctrine that they would represent

here Gehenna represents Hell and then

James says here in verse eight again

along the idea of it’s the most

difficult thing to tame to bridle he

says but the tongue can no man tame it

is an unruly evil full of deadly poison

so that being probably a truth it’s very

difficult to tame he says no man can

tame you can see how there’s a an

ongoing conflict throughout a society

about the freedom of speech something

were bumping up against more and more

lately because you can offend

you can say difficult things you can

stir the pot of contention and as we

hear here later strife and envying but

the four phases of the priesthood would

say that ultimately that freedom of

speech is essential we just need to be

responsible with it and he talks about

that here in verse 14 he says but if you

have bitter envying and strife in your


so through first number one first point

of agency you have created strife and

envying that are in your heart and think

of envyings also I think you can think

of envyings it with another word pretty

much the same word is covetousness so

that’s one of the ten commandments is to

not covet that would go right along with

the politics of envy where I would it

would be the politics of covetousness

things that I don’t have that I want

from someone else or if I can’t get them

then I don’t want anybody else

to have them either and that can be

spiritual gifts that can be happiness

that can be material goods that could be

anything but if you have envying and

strife in your hearts glory not and lie

not against the truth so we can see here

where we are still in the under the

principle of speech here from James we

can see here that what he’s talking

about when he talks about don’t offend

he’s talking about don’t lie don’t if

you’ve got envying and strife don’t

communicate that to others best not to

have it in the first place and he says

that this comes from the wisdom of the

earth or a kernel wisdom the

philosophies of men those go hand in

hand from a broader perspective

politically into the politics of the far

right and the politics of the far left

they both use envyings and strife as a

political tool as an ideological tool

to keep everybody in line and to stir up

the the energy of the base if you will

but it doesn’t come from heaven he says

right here in 16 4 we’re envying and

strife is again think about how that’s

being communicated how that can be

communicated not just in the world

abroad but even within the church right

how might that be communicated by

individuals or groups within the church

for we’re envying and strife is there is

confusion and every evil work so you’re

going to lose the spirit you lose you

change the values hierarchy and ideology

of envy and covetousness and tribalism

in a sense begins to spread confusion

and evil works and he says but the

wisdom of heaven that is from above is

pure then peaceable gentle and easy to

be entreated full of mercy and good

fruits that’s the key it’s full of

good fruits when the rubber hits the

road what actually happens outside of

the speech without partiality and

without hypocrisy that would be truth so

here in 3 James has laid out this

foundation about our speech and how

crucial it is may very well be that

those he is writing to had issues with

false teachings just like Paul

oftentimes did teachers put into a

position where they have given false


maybe unwittingly even but where they

have created envy and strife and they

hold a higher level of responsibility if

they’ve been in a position of preaching

within the church and he goes back to

this idea of covetousness or envying he

says in verse 2 chapter 4 ye lust or

covet and have not he kill and desire to

have its like Cain and cannot obtain

you fight and war yet ye have not

because you ask not I think this is a

really fascinating scripture and it’s

something that even just looking at this

again here and reading through this and

going through a couple of cross

references on this gave me a new idea

about covetousness that puts it a little

bit more into context and richness I’m

going to share that with you after this

following verse 3 ye ask and

receive not because he asked a miss that

ye may consume it upon your lusts or

your passions now in Doctrine and

Covenants section 46 verse 9 this verse

uses a lot of verse 3 here in James

chapter 4 and he gives us a great idea

it’s a great cross-reference here to

covetousness and envying here’s

what it says for verily I say unto you

they are given for the benefit of those

who love me and keep all my Commandments

and him that seeketh so to do that all

may be benefited that seek or that ask

of me that ask and not for a sign that

they may consume it upon their lusts so

this really turned on a light bulb for

me about this idea of covetousness and

envying we get a lot of this throughout

the New Testament even in the idea

of coveting what you don’t have and

putting that value up higher in your

values hierarchy so that you’re full of

envy you’re green you don’t like the

disparity that you see in a material

item or whatever it might be and instead

of focusing on opportunity you want to

remove by force or you’re hoping that by

force or in some way that the other

person is reduced in that thing or

wishing that you were given the same the

same thing but of course you can have in


cases the same thing if you’re in a

fluid society if you’re in a free


so here Doctrine and Covenants 46 9 that

uses the language of James 4:3 we get

this parallelism between envy and

covetousness on the one side and on the

other seeking for signs what both of

those tell us if we equate those two

things what is my neighbor have that I

don’t have with seeking a sign what

we’re doing is we’re turning the plan of

salvation and the four phases of the

priesthood on its head instead of going

through the process we are trying to

emotionally tire selves to some kind of

force that would flatten that hierarchy

right that would flatten by raising me

immediately up to where somebody else is

or bringing somebody else down to my

level and seeking a sign before I ask

before I pray before I do right is is

we know a very is from a very adulterous

and covenant breaking generation you’re

trying to do it in reverse you want it

now and why is that so important why is

the sign seeking such a problem in the

scriptures it’s because if we remove

what is between the asking and the

receiving of a sign so to speak or of

whatever it is then we are removing from

ourselves the whole process of growing

and learning and sacrificing and

becoming so when we hear covetousness or

envying or sign seeking we might think

about how we are robbing ourselves or

how someone is robbing themselves

of the ability to grow and to progress

and to become more like the Savior it

destroys the plan of salvation it

eliminates the need for faith and for

building that faith and for growing in

trust on the principles of the gospel

and the trust on the atonement and even

says here in the following verse 4

ye adulterers and adulteresses why would

he all of a sudden bring that in see

what I see here is he’s talking about

those that would be breaking a covenant

what does a covenant do it gives me the

strength to progress to move forward and

when we talk about adulterers and

adulteresses here or we talk about as

Christ says as Jesus says in his

ministry you are an adulterous

generation what he’s talking about is

the Covenant of marriage and using that

as the covenant with the Lord you know

so when adulterous generation is a

generation that it is a is our covenant

breakers and if we’re trying to receive

everything upfront through

covetousness and envying and sign

seeking then we’re breaking covenants

we’re breaking what we agree to do

remember what James here is all about

showing that our faith has to be

supported by our works so we’re robbing

ourselves of all that we would do in

that covenant what our portion of the

Covenant is and he says know ye not that

the friendship of the world is enmity

with God or hostility with God or

animosity with God

whosoever therefore will be a friend of

the world is the enemy of God thou shalt

have no other gods before me so if we

move to the philosophies of men in our

ideologies that might cause this envying

and this strife then we are moving

toward being a friend of the world and

we have to make a choice between those

two things being a friend of the world

is moving away from the Tree of Life

over two

the great and spacious building being a

friend of God is standing at the Tree of

Life and partaking of the fruit there

and he even says here using the

imagining here if we will the great and

spacious building on one side and the

Tree of Life on the other he says God

resisteth the proud but giveth grace

unto the humble well what are the two

sides here we’re talking about the great

and spacious building would be the pride

of the world and the Tree of Life would

be those that humble themselves to

accept of the grace of God the

opportunity that God has given us so

just as we decided just as Jehovah

decided also but in the premortal life

just as we decided to lower ourselves

into immortality that would bring us

down that would give us adversity an

opposition at every turn we also in

mortality have to lower ourselves to the

principles of the gospel and to the

words of the prophets and of the Savior

so that we can move forward to the Tree

of Life in verse eight dry it draw nigh

to God and He will draw nigh to you

there’s your works you draw nigh to God

first and he will draw nigh to you

the ironic priesthood is first that’s

what you need to do and the Melchizedek

Priesthood is second that’s what God

does or us acting in his name and then

he continues with speech in verse 11

speak not evil one of another brethren

he that speaketh evil of his brother and

judgeth his brother speaketh evil of the

law or the law of God the commandments

and he says if you want to be a doer of

the law and not a judge of the law then

don’t judge others just do just follow

the commandments and then he goes back

into a theme that Paul has talked about


or that we’ve heard about in Hebrews as

well he says here in chapter 5 verse 8

be also patient establish her hearts for

the coming of the Lord

draweth nigh in verse 10 take my brother

and the prophets who have spoken in the

name of the Lord for an example of

suffering affliction and of patience I

think it’s really interesting that they

keep going back to this and talking

about the prophets as an example why did

the prophets suffer why are they using

this as an example to the early

Christians this is a known thing right

this is even in Jewish teachings this is

a known thing that the prophets were

stoned and killed and suffered greatly

why because the people of Israel and of

Judah Judea sided with the world too

often and away from the tree of life

which is Christ and he says here in

verse 11 behold speaking of the prophets

we count them happy which endure that’s

again that’s our suffering that is our

actions that is our power over our own

minds and our own hearts to endure and I

wonder here if you read this if he’s

equated happiness with endurance I

wonder if you would maybe call the plan

of happiness another name could be the

plan of endurance because somehow

endurance provides happiness even though

you’re going through sufferings

there must be opposition in all things

so if there are sufferings especially in

the name of the Lord or in the name of

charity in the name of your fellow man

and woman then there is joy eventually

that comes from that you have heard of

the patience of Job and have seen the

end of the Lord what happened to Jesus

in Gethsemane and on the cross that the

Lord is very pitiful what they mean by

that is compassionate and of tender

mercy so

by going through sufferings by enduring

our trials and tribulations we like the

Lord we have more compassion and more

mercy for others unless we allow

ourselves just to become bitter but

that’s the same process that the Lord

went through in Gethsemane and on the

cross where he is able to be an advocate

for us and to love us that much more

because of the suffering that he went

through it’s like with my kids if there

is something difficult that they go

through and I end up having to go

through it with them

right I’m sharing their burden I do it

number one out of love but it gives me

that much more love and compassion and

mercy for them by sharing that by

enduring something with them or with my

spouse it’s the same thing and then we

get swear not right sticking with speech

and if there’s any sick among you let

them call for the elders and let them

pray over him in verse 14 anointing him

with oil in the name of the Lord so use

your speech here James is saying four

blessings and four good things and of

course we get the example of healing or

praying with someone and anointing

someone with oil in the name of the Lord

here and that the prayer right which is

an ironic priesthood as part of speech

an ironic priesthood function and was in

the temple of Solomon also that is

temple imagery but the prayer of faith

can save the sick and so by the law of

proxy sometimes individuals can receive

blessings even when they’re not asking

for it because just as with the

atonement and how that works through

proxy right someone fills in for us to

pay for something

well prayer can work the same way

think about Alma the younger what was he

doing from his works to allow him to

receive the angel and have us force

strong enough to completely change who

he is and what he’s doing well of course

it was nothing that he was doing

positively that that brought that

blessing down brought that angel down

from heaven it was though the prayer of

his father right that did that so he did

the deed right the father Alma the

elder did the deed did the works did the

exertion the effort in place of his son

and that brought down the blessing to

his son so prayer is a work that can be

done through the law of proxy and the

prayer of faith shall save the sick and

the Lord shall raise him up and pray one

for another that ye may be healed the

effectual fervent prayer of a righteous

man or woman availeth much so speech it

can be used for ourselves but it is a

great determining factor as to what is

inside of us what our heart is like what

our mind is full of what our desires are

James is telling us that speech is a

great gift and that we need to use it

wisely and take responsibility for what

we say and how we communicate with those

around us what do we teach how do we

lift others up and how do we bless the

lives of those

I’ll talk to you next

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