“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
James 1:26 (KJV)
How are you? When I was looking for verses about which to ponder and write, I came across this one. I wonder if people know just how powerful words can be. Even self-talk is more powerful than we give it credit. Our words are not to be taken or said lightly. They can testify to our true identity. We may try to act one way, but often our words will divulge our true feelings and beliefs.
Our mouths can be used for good or bad. We can use them to uplift others or to tear others down. They can be used to testify truth or to manipulate and lie. They can be used to show love or to show hate. How do you use your mouth?
Have you ever heard someone who is seemingly religious say something cruel to or about someone? I have. It gives me a funny feeling in my gut, like something is strangely amiss. Sometimes, I can’t put my finger on it at the time. Yet, it is the fact that someone who I thought was so religious and so close to God, really wasn’t. It confused my heart.
The Holy Spirit tells my heart that those who love God and who are religious are called to have loving and encouraging words, truthful words, even admonishment. Yet, those words are not meant to be cruel and hateful. Deep down, my heart knows what is said in James 1:26. The Holy Spirit tells me that whoever pretends to be religious yet, says hateful things, cruel things, or untruthful things are not as close to God as they pretend to be. They are just trying to fool themselves and others.
We are called to use our mouths for good. We are called to encourage others. We are called to praise God and testify to God’s truths. We are called to know when to keep quiet and when to speak. We are called to admonish each other, teach each other, and care for each other in kindness.
I find it interesting that this verse talks about what fake religion looks like. Not everyone both walks the walk and talks the talk. There are people who look as though they are really religious. They may go to church multiple times a week, volunteer, and even give to charity. Yet, they still call people names, put people down, manipulate others, lie, and don’t testify to God’s truths.
We are warned that we shouldn’t fall for fake religion. We are warned that going to church, volunteering, and looking religious are not enough. We are warned that not everyone is as he or she seems.
If we talk one way and act another way, often people can see through us and can tell that we are being hypocritical. So, if we go to church and act religious, it is nullified if we then turn around and speak badly, lie, or cruelly put people down. Not only that, but God doesn’t like it when people who are supposedly representing Him, serving Him, and worshiping Him, speak so cruelly and misrepresent what a true follower is like. I can feel for Him, because I don’t like to be misrepresented either. What about you?
Thank you for your Word! Thank you for your loving embrace and protection. Help us to not get caught up in fake religion, but to seek only your truth and to serve you in truth. Help us to be true when we worship you, serve you, and testify to others. Help us to be true to you in what ever we do. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for James 1:26 (KJV):
*What does James 1:26 mean to me?
*Have I seen people who seem religious but who aren’t?
*How do I feel to see someone misrepresent what it means to love God?
*How do I act? Am I truly a follower of Jesus or just acting like one?
*Do I understand why it is vain to act religious, but then turn around and
misuse my words and voice?
Now, it is your turn.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.