A Tight Rein

Sometimes the truth stings.

Sometimes it hits us in a vulnerable spot – an area of weakness.

If we are believers, the Holy Spirit convicts me and convicts you of things in our lives that we need to change.  One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to point out things to us that we need to stop and other things that we need to start.  He does this in a positive “you have the potential to be better in this area” way.  He says, “you are loved as you are and changing this will help you grow into everything God created you to be”  in our heads. His voice can point very clearly to an issue but is always helpful and encouraging.

The Holy Spirit is not the negative, whispering voice some of us hear in our heads reminding us of all our failures and telling us we’ll never be good enough.  That’s Satan.  Don’t listen to him.  Turn him off.

I love how God speaks with a practical and direct voice to me from the letter of James 1: 26,

“If anyone  considers himself religious and yet does not have a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Boom!

Ouch!

The first time I read this with my eyes really open, I spent several days thinking about how this related to me.  I took a critical look at what I talk about and who I talk about.  Are my conversations helpful?  Encouraging?  Building up the other person?  Building up the people who aren’t there?

First, I realized that my conversations could be more encouraging.  We all need encouragement- especially today.  I’m a thinker and a fixer so I can easily skip talking about all the things going well and focus on the issues being discussed.  I am now trying to make sure my conversations include regular and genuine encouragement.

Some of my conversations with my close, Christian friends get into discussing the difficult relationships in my life so they can be brutally honest and painful.  But having these discussions with mature Christians helps me get a different perspective of situations and that is very helpful to me.   After meditating on this verse,  I have tried to make sure in these conversations that I am presenting an evenhanded description of the issues, keeping unkind and venting-type discussion out of it.

One of the things God has called me to be is his light in this very dark and confused world.

What I say reflects on him – good or bad.

Please help me be a good reflection of your love and truth, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – Keep a Tight Rein

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without fault, and it will be given to him. James 1 1 -9 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position for he will pass away like the wildflower.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, a rich man will fade away even as he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because, when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to all who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’, for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does he tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full=grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters, every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.James 1 part 2

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this;  everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.   Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word of truth planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourself.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens the word and does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after he has looked at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – that man will be blessed in what he does. ‘

We are doing soooooo well!  Thank you, dear Father, for helping us carve your words on our hearts and minds!  The next verse is very convicting:

“If anyone  considers himself religious and yet does not have a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Boom!

Ouch!

Abba Father, we repent from those times when we have not held a tight rein on our tongues.  Open our eyes and stop us BEFORE we say the things we don’t want to say…..because we want to be a good reflection of you to those around us.  We would like for them to see your goodness and your grace and your love shining through us.  We understand….to do that, we need to hold tightly to our tongues.  Thank you for pointing this out to us in your word.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.