Lent: Day 20

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)


Many of us feel particularly “religious” (in the positive sense of that word) during Lent. We embrace the spiritual discipline of fasting. We seek God more earnestly than usual. We open our hearts for change and transformation.

Yes, the word “religious” seems appropriate—but James slips in a zinger. All of this may be worthless if we don’t temper our tongues along the way.

kind words

How have we spoken already today? Too quickly? Too harshly? Too profanely? Too insensitively?

Our words reveal our hearts at any given moment in time. Have we surrendered our speech (what we say and what we write—yes, even the emails) to Christ today?

It’s honorable that we deny ourselves some pleasure or necessity for Jesus. But poisonous or unkind words undo the honor and may render our efforts “worthless” (according to James).

A bridled tongue is not one that we remove but one that we control. Perhaps our speech today will empower our fast in a new way.

Lord Jesus, I confess again my need for You. Every day I need the salvation that You alone can produce. Touch my tongue, mold my heart, and transform my mind as I wait on You. For Your glory. Amen.


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