Sometimes we need to get down to the bare bones of our professed religion. In James 1:17-18, 21-27, we are challenged: “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
These are three tall orders. We should bridle our tongues, care for widows and orphans, and prevent the world from staining us. It is so difficult for us to live the Christian life. We know that we are going to make mistakes before we start.
We are going to say something that hurts another. We are bound to overlook those in need. We are going to succumb to the urgings and temptations of the world around us. Knowing this, how do we proceed?
At least since the 1970’s there has been a catchword that seems to have a life of its own. The word is “communications.” Usually after a number of years the popular catchwords and phrases wear out and disappear. Communications just seems to hang in there.
There is good reason for this. Can you think of any problem or situation involving man that isn’t impacted by good or bad communications? If there is more than one person involved, then there is the potential for a communications failure. Many times we can’t even communicate things to ourselves properly.
Now if we are struggling in the natural world to properly communicate, how must we be doing in the spiritual realm? From the looks of the world, we’re doing poorly. The problem is that the more poorly we’re communicating with God, the worse things are for us in the natural world.
Whatever time we are spending to improve our communications in the natural world, we should be spending one hundred times that in our relationship with God. We have things upside down. Our relationship with God is not part-time, Sundays for an hour only. It is a way of living.
So how do we succeed in bridling our tongues, caring for those in need, and resisting the influence of the natural world? We do this by communicating with God on a full-time basis. We do it by setting aside more time for prayer and meditation on His Word. We do it by inviting God into every aspect of our lives. We do it by listening to Him. We do it by acting on God’s plan for us.
If we’re not communicating with Him like this, we’re not getting the meaning of life. We’re not serving our master, the one who created us. We deny God the chance to use us and bless us according to His will. We have nothing to be thankful for if we don’t accept His gift.