control your tongue …. caring for orphans and widows in their distress …. refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Christian faith is nothing if it is not practical! It is not religious philosophy, and it is not simply an academic pursuit. Faith is not a ticket in your back pocket that promises admission to Heaven, nor is it a badge in your lapel that advertises membership of a church. James reminds us over and over again that faith is an active life-pattern: it shapes our language, our relationships and our desires. The tongue is to be controlled, relationships are to be based on caring, and inner desires are for purity, positively rejecting corrupting influences.
James is not vague about Christian living; he is specific and practical. Here are three distinct areas of life that can be worked on. Is God wanting to speak to you personally about one of them? If you are a Jesus-follower then reflect on his example:
Jesus mastered his tongue. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. (1 Peter 2)
Jesus cared for the widow. Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7)
Jesus rejected evil influences. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Is there anything here you need to work on in your life?