NIV 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 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.
Not all words are reliable evidence of truth. What is true is that our words as believers count as evidence of our relationship to Jesus and that requires we “keep a tight rein on [our] tongues.” James was writing to people just like us who struggle with the temptation to waste our words as weapons to wound or masks to hide behind.
Weaponized words to hide behind are everywhere today. They’re one of the easiest ways we can be “polluted by the world.” This is James urgent reminder to us that our words are part of our worship. The words we speak every day have an impact on Jesus’s reputation as as surely as those we speak in church on Sunday. William Barclay says it this way “…worship is empty and idle unless it sends a man out to love God by loving his fellow-men and to walk more purely in the tempting ways of the world.”
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” [NLT Micah 6:8].
Those are God’s words. Amen.
Genesis 1 Cliff Notes – God spoke and…
1. Light was purposely separated from dark.
2. Sky was purposely separated from water
3. Water was purposely separated from land
4. Vegetation and fruit grew with the purpose of producing seed.
5. Stars and Planets purposely lit the skies
6. Life purposely appeared in water and on earth
7. We purposely became his reflection
That’s power! My cliff notes make it clear God did not waste HIS words. When he spoke it was both purposeful and creative! We are God’s reflection and we are the singular part of his creation that has been given the given the ability to speak. Our words are a gift from him. Words have power…and purpose. Author Gary Chapman wrote this; “There are two ways to speak the truth: as bullets or as seeds. Use the truth as a bullet, and you will kill relationships. Plant the truth as a seed, and it will take root and grow, influencing the person in whose heart it was planted.” [p164 of Love as a Way of Life].
“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b.
It’s very easy to shoot your mouth off and believe it just accidentally slipped out isn’t it? I’m absolutely certain I’m not the only one who’s had to repent of that. Here’s what I’ve come to believe; that’s not an accident at all, It’s God not wasting OUR words or our heart! His Word still has the Power of his purpose to change an empty heart into an abundant one filled with the missing pieces needed to be his reflection. That’s something to talk about!