31 July 2008

Vain Religion – 2.25.08

James 1:26 says, 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.

Ouch! Did you see what God just said? An individual can go to church, read the Bible, go out on evangelism, be separated from the world, have the right standards, the right music, the right friends, etc. (all of which is GOOD!), and yet, if that individual is unable to bridle his tongue, the "religion" he has is empty.

The lady with a skirt to the floor and a tongue twice as long is only kidding herself when she thinks about how "holy" she is. God said the guy who "really knows the Bible" but has a tongue as sharp as a butcher knife may think he's "spiritual," but he's really good for nothing (1 Corinthians 13).

Temperance is a necessary virtue in the Christian life (Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6). We need to cultivate the ability to deny the desires of the flesh and subject the temporal body to the regenerated spirit (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). And according to the Bible, one of the highest marks of "spirituality" or "true religion" is this ability to bridle the tongue.

Brother, sister, there are times we need to learn to shut up! There are times when we'd be much better off not speaking a word. We may think it will kill us to keep our mouths shut (Job said, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost), but to my knowledge nobody has ever died of "holding their peace."

Take a look at these Bible passages:

  • Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred (Job 6:24).
  • Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (Psalm 34:13).
  • I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle (Psalm 39:1).
  • Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).
  • In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).
  • He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3).
  • Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding (Proverbs 17:28).
  • Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).
  • For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (1 Peter 3:10).

Be careful little mouth what you say. Is your religion vain or is it pure? Can you bridle the tongue? May the power of the Holy Spirit make us able.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

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