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Slip of the Tongue?

How are Christians supposed to live? What makes us different? What are the marks of true practical Christianity?

These questions have been asked by generations of believers before us as they sought to be faithful to our Lord while living in a world that’s constantly changing. And we must certainly ask them too.

A derogatory term that’s often used – rightly or wrongly – in describing Christians is ‘hypocrite’. The challenge for each of us is to understand exactly what Christ is calling is to be in changing times, and to remain faithful to that call. We must never bring shame on the One whose name we wear, though this is easier said than done.

James pounces on this topic of practical Christianity. In this week’s passage [James 1:19-27] he highlights three qualities that should be clearly evident in us if our faith is anything more than simply talk.

The desire to be instructed [19-21] means wanting to learn and understand God’s word so much that it becomes a top priority and a life-long pursuit. Every area of our life must be involved.

Putting it into action [22-25] is outward behaviour that is consistent with Scripture. It’s not just about what goes on inside our head – our faith must be able to be seen by others as evidence of godly attitude and a changed life.

Self-discipline [26-27] and integrity in all things is a desirable trait, though James particularly underlines the control of the tongue.

True religion is characterised by focusing on the needs of others and constantly self-checking: “Am I building up or am I wounding the body of Christ?”