I walked my first Bloomsday on May 1. Bloomsday is a 12K (7.46 miles…which I round up to 7.5) road race, which in it’s heyday boasted over 40,000 participants. This year there were “only” 24,000 participants, so it was a very enjoyable day. The weather was perfect (not too hot, not too cold) and my friend Kathryn and I completed the course in 2 ½ hours. We couldn’t walk at all the rest of the day, but hey! We got our T-shirts!
I also began a new Bible study in May, on the book of James. James deals with the struggles of early Christians and the trials they were encountering, living amongst pagan neighbors. As such, this book is full of practical advice that Christians living in the 21st century (amongst non-believing neighbors) can put to good use.
In James chapter 1, he gives a command, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” (1:22-25)
James is blunt. DO WHAT IT SAYS! He didn’t want these Christians just reading God’s Word (the law) and then forgetting it, but actually putting it into practice. He will continue in his letter to give them examples of how they are to do that, but he gives them this command first.
Then he follows with a cutting warning, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.” (1:26) Ouch.
It seems a rather odd place to put a warning about the tongue, right after a command to do what God’s Word says. What do these 2 subjects have to do with each other? Ah! This is where my Bloomsday walk comes into the picture.
Kathryn and I regularly walk 3 miles a day. We knew we didn’t have great training for 7.5 miles, but we also didn’t feel unprepared. However, there is a section of the Bloomsday walk that is a long uphill. It’s nicknamed “Doomsday Hill” because it’s at the 5 mile mark, where you are already running low on stamina and resolve. Then this loooong stretch of uphill hits you and you have to dig in and push.
Kathryn and I held a good pace up that hill, but we couldn’t talk much because we were putting our effort into walking. (See where I’m going??) The same is true of our Christian walk. When we are putting our effort into living out what we are commanded to do in God’s Word, we won’t have time (or a desire) to be wagging our tongues in useless (or sinful) speech.
That’s an object lesson that has stuck with me these past few weeks. Am I spending my time doing what God’s word commands I do? Or am I too busy just talking about doing what God commands? Worse, am I engaged in speech that does not bring honor to God? If I am working at what God commands, I am living out my faith for others to see. They don’t need to hear me talk!
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