If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue,
you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:26-27
Talk is easy, talk is cheap. Talk will and sometimes does get me into trouble. Talk is not what makes a relationship with Jesus, but it does say something about the state of that relationship, "If you claim to be religious but don't control our tongue, you are fooling youself." James is pretty clear about what he thinks about what comes out of someones mouth. There is a direct link between what I say and who I am. My words reflect the status of my heart. When me and God get real - the first thing that gets touched is my mouth. It's not the conversation that I think over first, it's all the stuff that comes out when I am not thinking at all. My first responses, the words that flow when I am with people that know me well and love me anyway. And I know when I have crossed the line. I know when my words do not reflect my Father. I know when something that should have been left unsaid gets said. I know whey it's a "my opinion" thing and not a "God's Holy Word" thing. I spend a lot of time meditating on the verse that says "speak the truth in love" - no where have I found the verse that says "open mouth and tell people exactly what is on your mind". My mom use to say "opinions are like earlobes, everybody has at least two," maybe you have heard similar idea's in your circle of influence. "Your fooling yourself and your religion is worthless." Ouch. Relationship with God changes things. It changes my priorities, it changes my passions, it changes my motives, it changes my behaviours, it should change my language too. If it does not - well then that is something God and I really do need to look into.
"Caring for orphans and widows in their distress." When I am a Jesus follower, I care about the things that matter to Him. People that cannot protect themselves, people who are mistreated and oppressed. But more than just "caring", there is action that needs to happen. It's not about efforts that are easy or comfortable for me, but instead I should be looking for where and what the need is and meeting them there to help how I can.
"And refusing to let the world corrupt you." Easy to say. Takes effort to do. This doesn't mean I dig a hole and hide, God calls us to be light and salt and not protected colonies of Christians. There has to be more of God in me. I need to cling to Him. For me this is spending time with God first, taking time to know Him, His character, His standard, His truth. Then it is spending time with the lost, the hurting, the broken, the struggling. It is making sure that my relationship with God lifts them up, and draws them closer to the love of Abba, and it is making sure that my walk doesn't suffer in the process. It means creating opportunity but avoiding temptation. It's hard. I can't do it by myself. But God doesn't want me to. He's there - and He is big enough.
These two verses lead my mind to this: The words that come out of my mouth are directly related to how closely I am doing life with Jesus. It's not about what I say I do, it's all about what I actually do. How does my journey with Jesus impact my interaction with those around me, and how does it impact my personal purity? If I am a Jesus follower, I should be different than the people around me who are not. How easy is it for those around me to see the difference? Lot's to pray thru today...