We are nearing the end of chapter 1 of James, v.26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” We started this chapter with considering trials with joy and we end with “worthless religion” if we cannot control our tongues. Wow. It reminds me of one of our recent sermon texts where Jesus is questioned about dietary laws by the legalists. He responds that what goes into a man does not defile him but what comes from the heart, anger, hate, jealousy, tells the truth about the state of the soul. Undergoing trials is a kind of litmus test of the soul. Are we tossing and turning like a wave of the sea because we do not trust the wisdom given generously by God? Are we blooming like a wild flower? Do I persevere and learn? Am I checking out the desires of my heart and taking an inventory of the desires that are driving me? Perhaps, like the stepmother in Snow White, I ask the mirror a question and use the answer to do evil.
Probably most revealing during a trying time is the state of my tongue. When I start snapping at the people I love, saying things I don’t really mean, and using my speech to destroy and not build, I know I am not considering the momentary trial, momentary. I need to remind myself that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Yesterday was a heavy duty day of packing and moving. At midnight my back screamed with pain and complaint. But this morning I look out at the Banana River, running parallel to the Barrier Islands off the East coast of Florida and blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. This morning I remember the blessings of friendship and anticipate the adventures to come. Lord, guard my tongue and keep my eyes on you! Blessings.