QTVOTD: Good Acts Without Obedience, are Worthless….

We have already been counseled by James to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but now he puts a valuation on the person who cannot control his/her tongue. Yikes! Smackdown coming…

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren). James 1:26 [AMP]

Today, this verse cut me to the quick…

I like how Tyndale talks about this verse and the Greek word Thrēskeia [the word used in this passage for ‘Religion’ – “Thrēskeia (and the rare adjective thrēskos) is the term widely used in the Greek world to denote the reverencing and worshipping of a god (or gods). It often connotes outward acts of worship. The true test of any religious profession, suggests James, is not the outward ritual of worship, which many go through unthinkingly and with little heart commitment. No, the real litmus test of religion is obedience; without it, religion is worthless: empty, useless and profitless.”

The way I think about what James is saying here is that the mindless, outward facing execution of religious acts (going to church, reading your bible in front of your family, prayer over hurting people, service to the church, etc.) is worthless without obedience through application of what you are learning in God’s Word to your daily walk…it is a ‘Heart Condition’! Now James has a serious beef with bad speech and unbridled tongues…coming up here in chapter 3, he is going to camp out on this topic for a good ~10 verses.

So, one of the things I was sharing with my accountability partner yesterday was my inability to quench the fire that comes out of my mouth when my kids throw attitude, act ungrateful for what they have, or flat out disrespect their mother and me. I have not been obedient to apply God’s teaching in His word to this area of my life…in fact, it has come to the point where I have in some cases remained unengaged with my oldest because of my fear of what I might say if she says something matching things I said at the beginning of this paragraph. My accountability partner challenged me on this and now with this reading today, my obedience begins today, starting with an apology to my oldest.

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