Foolish and Worthless May 23, 2017

Big Point: Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. James 1:26

If you were to interview average church-goers about what makes a strong and credible Christian, you would likely get quite a variety of answers. Probably regular church attendance would be high on the list, tithing or generous giving would get frequent mention, moral behavior, church membership—think about it. What do you think they would say? What would make YOUR list?

James was the brother of Jesus Christ, so if anyone should be able to accurately tell us what matters for accurately following Jesus, James would. He didn’t mention any of the benchmarks that get the usual attention. Instead, he said that anyone whose religion was real and valid was recognizable by their willingness and ability to control their tongue.

In fact, James said if we don’t control our tongues . . .

1) we are only fooling ourselves. God knows it’s not real, and others are not fooled either. Even children recognize the kind of behavior and speech that is consistent with someone who says they follow Jesus.

2) our “religion” is just that—simply a religion, and it is worthless. A true relationship with the resurrected Jesus has power, and power to speak life instead of death is part of that.

  • If my speech was monitored for the last seven days, and those who interacted with me would evaluate the credibility of my religion based on what they heard, how would I do?
  • Pray: Jesus, help my relationship with You be so real that my speech and conversations are a positive and public witness to my changed life.

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