v 19 Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
Or as the modern proverb might say ‘Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you might be stupid than open it and prove it.’
What a battle it is sometimes to keep our mouths shut! (Especially when we know we are right and everybody else is talking bunk!)
Once we get carried away in our conversation we are liable to fall into the trap referred to in James 4:16 ‘Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. ‘ Boasting is part of the battle we find ourselves in – it is the tendency to put ‘ME’ and ‘MY’ at the centre of our thinking and speaking. We so easily talk up our plans and possessions; and that can mean putting others down.
This seems to me to be one of the major themes running through the whole of the letter; the battle is an inner one and we are called to humble ourselves and resist pride. That does not mean running ourselves down or belittling our achievements, whatever they might be, but getting a proper view of our value in the eyes of God.
However much or little you have achieved, or will achieve, in your lifetime, you are loved by God and you are a member of His stable and eternal Kingdom. And you didn’t get there by any achievement, simply by grace. Is that something to boast about?