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. (Jas 1:26)
· Religious: G2357 θρῆσκος thrēskos thrace’-kos Probably from the base of G2360; ceremonious in worship (as demonstrative), that is, pious: – religious.
· Bridleth: G5468 χαλιναγωγέω chalinagōgeō khal-in-ag-ogue-eh’-o From a compound of G5469 and the reduplicated form of G71; to be a bit leader, that is, to curb (figuratively): – bridle.
· Vain=without profit, empty.
Controlling the tongue? The tongue just brings out what is in the heart, so to control the tongue we need to control heart and emotions. (Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
· Frustration, outburst of anger, swearing (gosh and jeeze included) can result and tarnish God’s name and our testimony
· gosh Pronunciation: \ˈgäsh, ˈgȯsh\ Function: interjection Etymology: euphemism for God Date: 1757 —used as a mild oath or to express surprise [i]
· Not controlling the tongue can lead to other things like taking God’s name in vain.
· Things may seem innocent but are not. I remember a sweet little girl named Kelly, she was about five years old and she was arguing with her mother. She kept telling Kelly to stop but she kept saying it was OK. Then she said well, I’m going to ask Brother Tom. She came into the dining hall in the church and had her ring finger extended. She said “it’s OK to do this, isn’t it? This finger does not mean anything.” I asked her: Kelly, does God know everything? (nod yes) So does God know what you mean when you do that? (you could see the light bulb go on) Do you need me to tell you it is wrong? (head shake no). It is wonderful how teachable children are and if I tell an adult about gosh they will go off on me like a firecracker how it is OK to say it no matter what I say, like they are fooling God or anyone else.
We need to have the mind and attitude of Christ:
Php 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
1Pe 2:21-24 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
· The mind of Christ is humble
· The mind of Christ is obedient
· The example of Christ is without sin
· The example of Christ is without guile (no craftiness or deceit) He was not trying to angle or get one over on you.
· When they tried to vilify Him, He did not respond in kind..
· When He suffered, He did not threaten. (how not like us!) but He committed Himself to The Righteous Judge.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Jas 1:27)
· Clean & unsoiled or unspotted religion before God is this… it takes action
· Mat 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (35) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
· Keep unspotted from “world system”
· And to keep himself unspotted from the world – That is, religion will keep us from the maxims, vices, and corruptions which prevail in the world, and make us holy. These two things may, in fact, be said to constitute religion. If a man is truly benevolent, he bears the image of that God who is the fountain of benevolence; if he is pure and uncontaminated in his walk and deportment, he also resembles his Maker, for he is holy. If he has not these things, he cannot have any well-founded evidence that he is a Christian; for it is always the nature and tendency of religion to produce these things. It is, therefore, an easy matter for a man to determine whether he has any religion; and equally easy to see that religion is eminently desirable. Who can doubt that that is good which leads to compassion for the poor and the helpless, and which makes the heart and the life pure?
We can choose apparent religion, religiosity, or pure religion. Pure religion will speak the right things at the right time for the right reason. As we will see when we get to chapter 3 it is easier said than done but we can by the strength and grace of God. We also need to do the right things for the right reasons. It can be a challenge but it starts with a choice.