If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
Wow! Talk about a jam packed passage of scripture. I don’t know how anyone can walk away from this passage without asking himself or herself if there is anything that needs to change. There are some strong words in here that I would not want someone to use if they were describing my life. Phrases like “he deceives himself” and “his religion is worthless.” If you see yourself in one of these phrases, than it’s time to examine your heart and ask God to change you. Let’s start at the beginning of the passage.
“If anyone considers himself religious…”
Well, first let me start by saying the word religious means “worshiping God” in Greek. Do you consider yourself one who worships God? How does that look for you when you’re at church? Does it look any different when you’re at work? How about when you’re around friends? You worship God with your life. Does your life look chaotic to outsiders or does it look like you are serving someone with purpose?
“…and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue…”
You can worship the Lord all you want with your actions, but if your tongue is out of control you will never truly show the real character of God’s love. God’s love comes with kind words, words that are gentle, and words that heal. Sure there are times that God’s words come with an admonishment, but for the most part it is not your place to stand in judgment over someone else. Learn to keep a tight rein on your tongue, so you do not become like the next part of the verse.
“…he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
You may ask how does this happen. Well, think about it for a moment. If you are good friends with someone and you trust them with your character. How would you feel if they ran around saying despicable things about your character? Things that weren’t true. These things would be the way that someone else would then come to see who you are. If they heard you were lazy, never helpful, always late, and stingy. This is what they would come to expect when they meet you. Would it be fair if all these things weren’t true? Of course not!
The same is true when we open up our mouths and become loose lipped about others in our lives. We never know what someone else is going through, so we should be sensitive to their needs. Also, what we say does affect how people view who we are in God. We are not worshiping God well, when out of our mouths comes garbage about those God has made. We were made to worship and glorify God with our lives. Sometimes we do this better in front of people by keeping our mouths shut, if we don’t have anything good to say! You are not responsible to just represent yourself, you represent God your Father and His precious Son Jesus. Represent them well with your life, your actions, and your words!
Dear Father God, I pray that You will help me keep a tight rein on my tongue, so that I can be a better representation of all that You are Lord. I desire with all my heart to help people see more of You and Your greatness. May You be glorified in my life!
Keeping True to God,