When I was in college, a friend of mine had the great idea of going horseback riding on a cool fall afternoon. I agreed and got on the horse that was assigned to me. Everything started very well. We started off walking, with each horse following the one if front of it. All was good, until the horse in front of my horse bolted off. My horse followed! I was yelling, “Whoa horse! Whoa horse!” My horse was not paying any attention to me. Perhaps he only understood a different language. All I know is that he did not listen to me, and I was in trouble!
James wrote, “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” (James 1:26). When that horse I was riding went out of control, it was a horrible feeling. However, when my tongue is out of control, that is even more horrifying! That horse eventually calmed down, and I got off. Not much damage done (other than a few saddle sores). When my tongue is out of control, it does a great deal of damage.
James specifically addresses the issue of how negatively the way we use our tongue can affect the “religion” we show others. If my language is the same as the world, it shows that my heart is worldly. If my language is uplifting and encouraging, it shows a heart that is filled with good things. If my language matches the language of the world, it is obvious what is in my heart. James is encouraging the believers reading this letter to make sure there is a difference between them and those outside of Christ.
Words have meaning, and the way we use those words can influence others. I want to be very careful today to use my words wisely. I want to be sure that what I believe, and what comes from my mouth are one in the same. I want to make sure that my words are used in a way that prove my relationship with Christ. There is a big difference between seeming to be religious, and having a living, vibrant relationship with Christ. I want to be sure that my language proves an intimate relationship with Christ.
Others have commented that when our children call us, that we speak with a different tone of voice. When our grandchildren call, we speak with affection in our voices that we do not use when someone is calling asking for money. The reason for this comes from our heart. We love our family … not so much with the person asking for money. I pray that the words that come from my mouth will be under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. I want the word to see my relationship with God in the way I speak today.