"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."
Earlier in this chapter they use an analogy of hearing the word and not acting on it... saying that it is like someone going to look at himself in the mirror, and then as soon as he walks away, forgetting who he is. Then we get down to this verse and it talks about deceiving your own heart... I think this is really interesting. One summer I went to visit a friend in Oregon and while there we ran into a woman who had fallen away from the church. We went to lunch with her, and listened to her talk about her mission... she was fervent and believing. She had a testimony of the gospel, and believed in what she had done on her mission. Afterward, we went to her house where she lit up a cigarette and proceeded to tell us that she felt it was the right thing for her to be out of the church, contradicting almost everything that she had talked about when she was talking about her mission. She was, and is, a good person, but my friend and I got in the car to drive back and my friend looked over at me and asked me please to never let her become like that. If I ever saw her life contradicting her beliefs so intensely, I should remind her of what we had seen that day.
Unfortunately, when that time came, she didn't remember the incident at all. It is amazing how far removed from ourselves we can become when we let go of the Spirit, whose mission is to remind us and teach us. We forget the things that are most important. Simple things, like which way it is to happiness, or how to speak kindly to other people (bridling our tongues). We do deceive our own hearts, incredibly, when we walk away from the mirror and forget who we are: Children of God, created in his image, and made to become like he is. Prayer and scripture study help us to remember who we are and who God is, and our relationship with one another... attending church helps us to remember as well. And we need all of the reminders that we can get. I never want to forget who I am... so I need to keep looking in the mirror. Today, let's be careful not to deceive ourselves.