“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”  (James 1:26, NIV)

For today and Monday, two thoughts about religion’s value.

The first thought is from verse 26 of James’ letter: A religion that is incapable of affecting something as common as our verbal interactions is worthless.

This is not to say that the religion, per se, is worthless.  It says that to us, the religion we are professing is worthless, because it has failed to affect our behavior in the most simple and ordinary way.

As disciples of Jesus, if we take seriously our profession of faith, then that faith must affect our lives in not only extraordinary ways, but in ordinary ways as well; not just on the mountaintop or in the valley (for these are temporary extremes in human experience), but on the boring, level plain, too.  – Luther

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“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.”  (James 1:22, NIV)

Information.  Inspiration.  Perspiration.

Information is knowledge.  God presents every person with the information that leads to life and peace.

Inspiration is the desire to act on that information.  It is the bright light of revelation.   It is the “I get it” moment.  The devil attacks at the moment of inspiration to delay our engagement, because delay brings doubts; and doubts always conspire against truth and reality.

Perspiration is the work of taking information — fueled by inspiration — to reality. Information and inspiration without perspiration is akin to having a construction blueprint and all building materials at hand, but never breaking ground.  Nothing of either temporal or eternal value is established or sustained without perspiration.

Get informed.  Get motivated.  Get to work.  – Luther

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“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  (James 1:19-20, NIV)

There is not a more succinct statement of what the disciple of Jesus should aspire than what we read in today’s scripture.

Whomever first uttered the bromide: “The reason God gave us two ears and one mouth is that we should listen twice as much as we talk,” was on to something.  We all should major in listening and minor in speaking!

When you “listen” with every sense the Lord has given you, you will see what others do not see; you will hear what others cannot hear; and when you are compelled to speak, your sentences will convey the wisdom of God.  – Luther


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