Jump Start # 3289
James 1:26 “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.”
Across from our church building is a small golf driving range. It’s a great summer oasis if I want to take a short break from what I am doing. In the late fall, the driving range closes for the winter. Every year, after it closes, they post the same message on the sign out front, “Think Spring.” When the cold winter wind blows, that’s a great reminder, “Think Spring.”
Something recently happened to the message on the sign. The word “Spring” is missing. The letters may have fallen off. The sign now reads, “Think”. And, in many ways, that’s a much better message. Think. We’d all do a lot better if we only do some thinking.
Our verse today describes a person whose mind and actions do not match. He thinks he is religious. However, his mouth tells a different story. His mouth is not bridled. The words fly and as they sting and hurt others, this man’s influence for good falls to the mud. No one thinks that he is a follower of Jesus, the way he talks. What he thinks and what he does are not consistent and they do not match.
Let’s think about “Think”:
First, a lot of trouble we get ourselves into wouldn’t happen so much if we did some thinking. We say things without considering how those words might be received. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Most of us struggle with figuring out that time. “Should I say this,” would prevent a lot of heartache if we only thought those thoughts. James tells us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. It seems we like to mix those things up and do more speaking than hearing.
Second, imagine if we could think of passages before we acted. The Psalmist meditated day and night upon God’s word. Thinking about what God wants me to do, would likely get me down to the church house more than I often go. Thinking about God and His divine kingdom would likely lead me to giving more money than I already do. Think. Think about the good that can be done. Think about the ways the kingdom can be expanded.
Third, Bible classes could really become challenging, deep and helpful if we put more thought into what we are doing. This begins first with the teacher. Asking simplistic questions that everyone already knows the answers to will generate silence or simplistic answers. It can be an exercise in just rehearsing what we already know. We need depth, challenging and insightful observations of God’s word from the teacher.
But the students in the classes need to think as well. Think about who is in the class. Some like to play the game ‘stump the teacher.’ They do this by asking controversial questions that have nothing to do with the subject being taught. They like to put the teacher on the spot and like being cute by making silly comments. Everyone laughs. One must understand who all is in the classroom. Young in faith. New to Christ. Broken hearts. Confused. And, comments made without thinking, can discourage, disappoint and even drive some away.
A person must “THINK” before he speaks in class. Will this be helpful? Is this something that I need to study before I speak out? Is this something that I ought to ask the teacher in private? Some, as soon as a thought crosses their minds, they open their mouths and say things that may not be appropriate, kind or helpful. THINK.
Finally, as one puts some thought into “THINK,” it is remarkable that God thinks about us. He loves you, not because you are part of the human race, but He loves you personally. He knows you. He made you. He understands how you are wired.
There are moments in our lives when it seems that no one is thinking of us. You may feel this way about your family. Everyone is occupied with themselves and no one thinks of you. You may feel this way about the church. You wonder if you dropped out, would anyone even miss you. You can feel this way about work. You easily can feel this way about society and the government. No one thinks about me. That quickly turns to, “No one cares about me.” But, there is one and He always thinks about you. He is God. He is busy blessing you, forgiving you, moving things in and out of your life that you are not even aware of.
But on another aspect, do we think about God? That “pray without ceasing” verse doesn’t really work well unless we are thinking about Him. When I think about Him, I want to pray to Him. When I think about Him, I step more closely to Him. When I think about Him, I realize how rich I am.
Think. I hope the driving range just keeps that word on the sign. It sure helps me every time I see it.