In our study of James chapter three, we look at the struggles we all face in dealing with our human struggles in the flesh. We will look at the source of the struggles and how to win the fight.
"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." NIV translation
James opens up this section of his letter with a warning. We should not be teachers of the Word because of our own desire to do so as it must be a gift and calling from God.
James warns us that, as teachers, God will judge our actions more strictly. This is not talking about a judgment of salvation but it speaks of the judgment of the saints and their works. It is much the same as what God said in Malachi 2. There, we see how seriously God takes someone leading His people astray. (The same is true today as James is saying here.) We must also say that, if God calls you to be a teacher (or to do anything else), He expects us to be obedient. That is not presuming; that is listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and being obedient.
"We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." NIV translation
James goes from the introductory warning to look at the first act of fighting the flesh. He tells us that the words of a man are the greatest struggle. That is why a teacher is judged more strictly as they use words to instruct God's people. They must be careful to ensure that the words are words from God and that can only happen through a knowledge of God's Word and by listening to the Spirit.
We are also told that, if we keep our words of God, then are bodies will follow in the will of God. (We must also note that this does not only apply to teachers but to all Christians.)
"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal." NIV translation
James gives us an example here of how something small can have a huge impact. A bit goes into the mouth of a horse and is attached to reins. Those reins are then used to turn the head of the horse and the body of the horse will go in the direction that the head goes. You could try to get behind a horse and push it to get it to go in a certain direction but the most effective way is to control the head by controlling the mouth.