If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. - James 1:26
This verse is always convicting to me - every time I say it and every time I hear it. The tongue is a reflection of what lives in our hearts. There are times words come out of my mouth that reflect a darkness in my heart that simply grieve me. I wish I could say I’ve been a Christian long enough to tell you I’ve gotten control of my tongue, but that would be far from the truth.
Religion in this context means the outward behavior of worship, so James is addressing those who appear to be religious by what they do. But we know God sees our hearts and is not deceived by our outward actions. He looks at what lies within us, what motivates us, He knows our desires and our passions, He knows what brings us joy and what brings us sorrow.
Anything we do or think apart from God has no value to Him. When we are united with the Spirit, there is fruit in our lives that demonstrates the inner working of the Spirit. Obviously, we are not perfect in actions or our thoughts, but we should be growing increasingly more like Christ in what we think and do.
To bridle is to restrain or curb, so bridling your tongue is to hold back those words you shouldn’t be saying - those angry words, those mocking words, those gossiping words, those boasting words, those lying words, those impure words. God calls us to love one another before ourselves, so our words should only build one another up. If the words we say do not accomplish that, then we are to restrain them. This is impossible in our own power, but when we submit our tongues to God, we allow the power of the Spirit to use His Word through us. Only then will our tongues glorify Christ.
I want my words to only, always glorify Christ, and that desire has grown the Spirit to speak more words of truth of late, but I still have so far to go. I still speak words that demonstrate my heart is worthless. I’ve discovered reflecting on my conversations and truly thinking about the words I speak, and revealed to me the areas He is still growing in me. I am so thankful for a God who loves me enough to continually forgive me and pursue me so that He can refine me and teach me to speak words of life.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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