Devotion for Thursday, September 15th, 2011
26 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.
Today James gives a litmus test for authentic faith in God. The word “religion” here is speaking of the trappings of religious ceremony, piety, and outward expressions of faith. James is saying that if someone does certain things to make people think he is “in” with God, and yet the words that he says don’t line up with what the Word of God proclaims, then it shows that this persons ceremony, so-called piety, and outward expressions of faith do not and will not do him any good.
In fact, James says that this person “deceiveth his own heart.” How is this person deceived? Because this person thinks that the outward expressions of faith are going to save, even though real spiritual transformation of the heart hasn’t happened.
James is not saying that having a “bridled tongue” or a tongue that is under control makes you saved. He is saying that it is a mark of someone who is saved. Jesus said it this way, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Whatever words come out of your mouth come out because that is what was in your heart in the first place.
Today, pay attention to the things you say. What does it reveal about what’s going on inside you? Do your words match up with what you say you believe? Are they bringing life to people, or tearing people down?