a few good rubber bands...

my pastor, doug dortch, spoke on james 1:26 sunday...

James 1:26

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

and i do love to work in some of the message too (especially since my sistah beth moore is also a fan of the message and defended it on her blog)...

James 1:26 (The Message)
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air.

doug e. fresh dortch pointed out that if any of us couldn’t go 24 hours without a drink, we would be an alcoholic and anyone who couldn’t go 24 hours without a cigarette, then we would be addicted to nicotine. so if we can’t go 24 hours without keeping a tight rein on our tongue... well then our religion is worthless.

the king jimmy version uses the words “this man’s religion is in vain” which mean 

1) devoid of force, truth, success, result
    useless, of no purpose

a tad bit convicting. especially to one who has a LOT of trouble keeping a tight rein on her wallet, her emotions, and especially her tongue. if i want my religion to have force, truth, success and results then i have got to “put a lid on the boiling pot” that is my tongue.

so i took the challenge and i have been keeping a tight{ish} rein on my tongue.  i have been wearing the rubber bands that dr. d handed out to keep on our wrists. every time i don’t rein in my tongue (put on lid on the overflowing pot) i change the rubber band to the other wrist as a reminder. and we were challenged to go 24 hours without moving the rubber band.


and i have been reading the verse every morning and repeating it during the day to keep it in the forefront of my mind. hiding the Scripture in my heart and all that. and i have been able to keep that rubber band on the one wrist for the most part.

and then i expanded it because i LOVE a good undertaking.

so i moved into the next part of the “james challenge”...

James 1:27 
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted. 

and the king jimmy with strong’s defines “polluted” as...

1) spotless
    free from censure, irreproachable 
    free from vice, unsullied by the world.
James 1:27 (The Message)
Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

quite a challenge. and i noticed how it actually involved THREE things at once... 

  1. control your tongue (hard)
  2. reach out to the homeless and loveless (harder and time consuming)
  3. while guarding against corruption (darn near impossible)

that is a lot to do at one time.

and i happen to have chosen to wear THREE rubber bands on sunday. mostly because i like things in groups of threes. i have a yellow one, a purple one, and a hot pink one.

so i think THREE bands... THREE challenges in those two verses... it can NOT be a coincidental...

so now i have to move a rubber band when i control my tongue. move one when i reach out to someone who is homeless or loveless AND when i guard against corruption (not checking the jon & kate hate blog). so i am hoping to move my bands a lot. not moving them means that my religion is pretty much worthless. 

and then i thought that maybe doing the first two (guarding the tongue and reaching out to the homeless and loveless) MIGHT just be the key to the third challenge.

not reining in my tongue leads to a lot of corruption in my soul. and ignoring those around me who are hurting also leads to my being more selfish and self centered.  which is the main way i am corrupted by this world that keeps saying it is “all about lea”. (which i have obviously bought into because my twitter name is “itsallaboutlea”).  

maybe the corruption that most christians fear (EVIL EVIL world ready to devour us little christians and spit us out) is less about the EVIL found in the world and more about the really destructive things like selfishness and self centeredness within our own souls. seeing the WORLD as so evil and all intrusive and something to avoid means that i don’t always look inward as the source of impurity. i know in my case that the most destructive force that i deal with 24/7 is not those BAD HEATHENS of the world...

but the BAD HEATHEN that seems to live in my own soul and likes to come out and play by taking over my tongue and ignoring the needs of those around me because I HAVE MY OWN NEEDS GOSHDARNIT. 

the corruption in the world that i try so hard to avoid by staying in my safe little home reading my Bible and watching all those uncorrupting HGTV shows might just be the most dangerous form of corruption that comes by totally separating myself from those who are hurting and needing me to show them the love of the Lord that i could show to them...

if i wasn’t so busy avoiding all that corruption out there.

which according to 2 peter comes from evil desires (which i have a plenty on my own)... and it is combated by adding things like brotherly kindness and love to my repertoire. and adding these things will keep me from being ineffective and unproductive...

2 peter 1: 3-9
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness 
through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 
Through these He has given us his very great and precious promises, 
so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and 
escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to 
add to your faith goodness; 
and to goodness, knowledge; 
and to knowledge, self-control; 
and to self-control, perseverance; 
and to perseverance, godliness; 
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; 
and to brotherly kindness, love. 
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, 
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive 
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, 
and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

if i spent more time “putting a lid on it” and “taking the lid off” of MY heart, MY home, MY time, MY money to care for those who are the “least of these” then i might not need to guard against so much corruption. i wouldn’t have time for corruption. i would be doing what really mattered in this godless world... bringing more God into it. through little ole corruptable me. 

though why He ever thought that was a good plan is beyond me.