26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26 NIV)

It seems to me that there are two prominent mindsets among many followers of Jesus today. One group says that Jesus has done it all. There is nothing that we have to offer. We are forgiven because of what Jesus has done and that is the final word. I know some folks who know the doctrine thoroughly, but there is little else about their lives that resembles Jesus at all.

There is another mindset that says that we must live a “good” life. We must be more diligent every day in doing good. The good we do is never good enough; we must continue to strive to be even better. I know some folks who are of this school of thought who base their relationship with God upon how well they lived yesterday.

God’s Word teaches that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to bridge the gulf between us and God–the gulf that is there because of our sin. God has done for us, in Jesus, what we could never do regardless of how well we have lived. At the same time, God’s Word teaches that because of what He has done for us, if we will follow Him, change in our daily lives is inevitable. Salvation leads to transformation.

One of the transformational changes that takes place is the way we use our tongues. Before we come to know Jesus we use our tongues to manipulate, criticize, lie to get our way, coerce, and gossip. Out of our mouths come cutting words, foul locker room language, bitterness, and crafty, conniving words that we use to get our way or get back at our enemies. After we come to know Jesus, the way we use our mouths should begin to change. Whereas we once criticized those around us, now we encourage those same folks. Whereas we once used our tongues to manipulate others, now we refuse to open our mouths just to get our way. Whereas we once used our tongues in destructive, ungodly ways, now we keep a tighter reign and refrain from the ungodly use of our tongues. James says that if we refuse to keep a tight reign on our tongues then our religion is worthless.

As I look back over this past week, and the way that I have used my tongue, I can get a pretty clear picture of how closely, or how distant, I have been with, or from God, this week. The closer I walk with Him the more my tongue becomes a source of healing rather than harm to others. The closer I walk with Him the more my tongue becomes a source of blessing to others and brings glory to Him. The further I drift from Him the more I go back to using my tongue in the ways I use to before I ever came to know Him.

My prayer today, Lord, is that You will remind me to use my tongue to bless others, to keep my mouth shut when I need to, and in all things to bring glory to Your name.

Think About It…