Rein It In
Verse 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James showed us yesterday that there is freedom in obedience and today he points out one of the toughest instances to obey.
Which of us hasn’t had a time when we said something we later regretted? We may have even regretted it as soon as we heard our voice say the words, but it was too late. We can’t take the words back when they have already been heard and injured someone we love. The wound has been inflicted and while the wound may heal, the relationship may never be the same.
James tells us that anyone who claims to be religious has a worthless faith if they don’t show it by controlling their tongue. Remember, James had a life-long example in his life. We have likely all seen our siblings lose control of their tongue at one time or another, but James had watched Jesus monitor His tongue in every instance. He had never seen his brother backtalk to their parents or heard Him mutter disrespectfully under His breath.
And since James had witnessed the very picture of reining in the tongue, he knew the benefits of the practice. He would have watched as Jesus gained respect from those around Him. He would have seen the ways his parents responded to Jesus always being respectful. James had watched as Jesus built a following as He spoke truths boldly and unashamedly. James couldn’t deny that there was something different about Jesus’ verbal control.
This is the exact thing that James was trying to get his readers, and us, to see and understand. The very things that revealed Jesus as a holy man are the things that will reveal the temperature of our faith. Imagine if we were to monitor our tongues and keep them from running wild – whether in the form of gossip, lies, boasts, filthy stories or even harsh, cold words – imagine the different perception the world would have of Christians and ultimately Christ, since He is the one we are supposed to be representing!
Making It Personal
When is it hardest for you to manage your tongue? Why are those times hard for you to control your speech? How can you start reining in your tongue?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to watch what you say? What is a way that you can watch what you say? Is there something you should be careful about in how you talk?
Father, thank You for the perfect example of Your Son in how to rein in our tongue. Please help us see the importance of this spiritual discipline. In Jesus’ name, amen.