and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue,
he deceives himself
and his religion [/spirituality] is worthless.
James 1 makes it "pretty" clear that you are not a Christian or Jew if your words/you are out of control. No ifs and or buts. It's not about going to church, reading the bible, praying: it's about your words.
Let's hear that preached! James says your whole religion is worth-less! I hear the echoes "but we're sinners....saved by grace...not by works..." Okay - so ignore James then. This book almost didn't make it into the canon because it mirrors the shallow-ness of most peoples' ideas about what being religious means.
How can one 'love his neighbour' if s/he doesn't control his tongue? Impossible! So go to church, sing "songs of praise"...but it's all worth-less: UNLESS you control your speech.
So how do we keep a tight rein on our tongues? Do we just say sweet things to one another? We certainly should do that but we still need to speak the truth - but in love - and with gentleness. We need to check our egos at the door and sacrifice for the good of the other. Our words impact very deeply. They heal or hurt. We need to be healers! So we need to work on our character - to be more loving - both in words, actions and in our inner most be-ings.
How few Christians are willing to suffer! It takes patience and kindness not to just spew out words that may hurt another. But we are COMMANDED to die for our brothers - we are to serve - not to look to be served. Let us care more about impact of our words than about expressing what/how ever we want. We still need to be 'real' but with the benefit of the other as a priority. This is love. This is religion worthy of praise.
If we don't "live" our religion - PRACTICE in every aspect of our lives - it's worthless!