“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27
We live in a world where a person’s word often means very little. Many are surrounded on a daily basis by people who use words very carelessly. Perhaps the language itself is filthy or the content of the words is hurtful or damaging to someone else. In the midst of a society where we are so thoughtless with our words, these verses from James should cause us to take a serious look at our speech and how it affects our lives.
Is your religion a true relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you actively working to keep a rein on your tongue? Are the words that you speak wholesome and uplifting – full of encouragement and support?
James wants us to understand that what comes out of our mouth, and our life, is a true reflection of what’s inside of us. If you can’t keep control of your mouth with the help of the Holy Spirit, your claim as a religious person is worthless. That can sound like a really negative and discouraging principle. However, the rest of this passage gives us a positive side of our claim to religion showing in our life.
Pure and faultless religion from God’s view sounds like something to be highly sought after by Christians. By keeping a rein on our tongue, we are free to practice religion that God views as valuable. This includes looking out for those that can’t look out for themselves. Do you care about those who have no voice in our society? Do you look out for the “orphans” and “widows” of our day? Obviously, this should include those who are truly orphans or widows, but I think it goes beyond this. There are many who are orphaned or widowed even though they may have parents or spouses living. Do we care for them? When we do this along with keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world, we have a religion that is worth something. It is a true relationship with Jesus!
It is my prayer that you gaze intently into the Word of God and put it into practice.