Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongue deceives themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26
Listen: James 1
James wrote to Jewish believers. They had grown up around the great teachers of Jerusalem and were surrounded by the Old Testament and the Law. They had become Jesus followers and went to church. But there was a problem. They had deceived themselves. They had a walk with Christ that did not changed their lives. They had heard the truth, but they did not act on it. As a result, there were tensions within their communities—and James had to step in. James was afraid that although being immersed in a religious culture for years, they had not grown more like Christ along the way.
James believes that self-deception shows itself in relationships. These early believers were deceiving themselves because they didn’t get along with one another. The culture James wrote to was very similar to ours. Here in West Michigan, it seems like there are churches on almost every corner and almost everyone has heard about Jesus.
But we still have blind spots and struggles. We hear sermons and read the Bible but do not change. We deflect when confronted, rationalize lousy behavior and avoid facing ourselves. James would say, “You are self-deceived.”
Don’t be self-deceived. As you start this week, examine if your relationship with God is stagnant. If so, may this week be a chance for you to begin moving forward. If you have been moving and growing, may this week be an encouragement to keep going.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Close your eyes and open your hands to God. Tell him that you don’t want to be a hearer of the word only, but one who does what it says. Pray and ask God to help you see ways that you have deceived yourself. Ask him to open your eyes and show you things you have not seen before and thank him for how he will move this week.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.