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James 1:26-27

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. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


Someone who seems to be religious is a two way street. They can seem to be religious to us because we are looking on the outside and judging based on what we see. Seeming to be religious can also be a personal thing where we feel like we are religious because we do all the right things and we feel like we are measuring up to the requirements of the church. In either case, if the person who seems to be religious is unable to bridle their tongue, their religion is vain. Vain religion means it is useless and of no purpose.

What a shock it would be to spend your life jumping through all the acceptable and seemingly religious hoops to find out in the end that your religion was useless and of no purpose? No thank you, I’m not interested in that.

If the measuring stick to determine if your religion is vain or not is whether you can bridle your tongue or not, then the opposite is also true. If my religion results in me being able to bridle my tongue then my religion is purposeful and has value.

One of the biggest issues with not bridling our tongue is that it causes us to deceive our own heart. Being deceived is especially dangerous because if I am deceived then I am wrong about something but I am convinced that I am right. Thus the only way to be delivered from my deceived condition is to bridle my tongue and spend some time listening. I’m not talking about only bridling the physical tongue. It is important to control our physical tongue but it is more important to bridle our inward mental tongue. If I allow that inward mental tongue to talk incessantly I will deceive myself. It is important that I don’t allow someone else to deceive me but it is way more important that I don’t deceive myself.

Check yourself today. Are you able to bridle your tongue? Are you able to bridle the inward mental tongue that controls you and deceives you? Is your religion vain?