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James 1: 26

 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain” KJV

Over the course of the past four years the Lord has blessed me with a gift of time.  I have had the opportunity to sit down and study the Word and blessed with the time to commit to a dedicated daily prayer life.  I was very much an infant in Christ but through this time our Lord has grown me spiritually.   Not a lot mind you but God has opened my heart and mind to come to understand His written Word in ways I never thought possible.  I have also come to realize there is such a thing as “Spiritual Snobbery” and I believe the above passage may just put this in perspective.

I believe James goes deeper in regards to just bridling the tongue however this is of most importance when it comes to believers.  Here however I think we need to dig a bit deeper.  Many believers, and especially those of us brought up in the church, have come to position ourselves above others spiritually.  I do not believe we do this on purpose mind you but rather have come to think of ourselves as a little bit holier because we have been spared the worldly traps of life other believers may have had to overcome before accepting Jesus as their savior.  There is great danger in for us when we “consider (our self) religious” .

When we believe we are more religious than we really are, it may be a sign our religion is boastful or arrogant.  If we find our self ready to speak of the faults of others—especially those who have only been followers of Christ for a short while—and thereby judging their past life, a life before Christ came into it, and we chuckle inwardly or outwardly (even though it may seem innocent enough) at their lack of Biblical wisdom these are signs that we may just be Spiritual Snobs. 

A Christian who thinks they are better than others and then speaks wrongly or worse yet accusingly of other, less mature, believers has a judging heart and this my friends is not gracious or loving.  We must remind our self that we are not to judge others but our goal as mature believers is to help younger ones grow in Christ. And how can we do this if we are continually reminding them of their past or worse yet judging them for it.  When we judge the enemy uses us to stop the change Jesus is working in their lives.  This is the danger of being a Spiritual Snob and not bridling the tongue.

Now I am not talking about gossip here.  I am writing about a mindset whereby we believe—or perhaps we do not even realize we are doing it— someone who has lived a life in the world and done things they would not be proud to admit, but do so expecting other believers to understand and not hold it in judgment against them, has less grace in the eyes of Christ than the rest of us. 

Did you know that James, the half-brother of Jesus and writer of the Book of James, was an unbeliever?   It is true.  John 7:5 says, “for not even his brothers believed in Him.”  And if you read the verses before you can get a feel for the tone—a tone of mockery—these brothers toward Jesus.  It is also believed that James was the older of the brothers.  In Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 we are given a list of the names of Jesus’ brothers and in those days in time children were almost always listed in birth order beginning with the oldest.  It may have even been James who spoke these words in John 7:3-4.  But we also know that Jesus came back and showed His resurrected self to James. (1 Corinthians 15:7 “then He appeared to James.”)  James was not saved because he grew up with Jesus…he was saved because of the forgiving grace of Jesus. Isn’t that true for all of us too?

Spiritual Snobbery has no place in the walk of any believer.  Whether you were brought up in the church or out of it; whether you have walked with Christ since you were three years old or you just received Christ three days ago we are ALL saved by Grace.  And once that happens “old things are passed away behold all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

Just something we should all think about before we put on that robe of piety.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

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