Main point summary
Thinking you're religious, but not controlling or guarding your tongue shows your religion is really worthless, but pure and holy religion is demonstrated through sacrifice towards widows and orphans, and holiness.
How can we know what it looks like to live a life of godliness in the Lord? How do we live and show we are disciples of Jesus? It is not enough to say we are religious, but then go on walking in an attitude and lifestyle of pride and arrogance. If we open our mouths to speak, but don't filter what we say, guarding our tongue and choosing carefully our words according to God's wisdom and grace, we deceive our hearts if we then think we are living this godly and Christ-exalting life. In actuality, any religion we thought we had is stained by our asceticism and sin, and is in reality, self-made. But true religion–what is pure and holy and blameless in God's sight–is actually doing God's word, in all humility, by walking in Jesus' steps, by His example, and caring for the fatherless and the widow–by showing them compassion and caring for their needs. This is what Jesus Himself did for us and it reflects His character. Furthermore, when we don't just "hear" the Word, but "do" it–when we choose to walk in holiness and set ourselves apart from the world and all its influences, aligning our choices and decisions with God, we show what it is to walk in God-honoring religion.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If anyone thinks that he is a godly person
q and does not bridle his tongue
and is one that does not exercise discernment or wisdom in opening his mouth to speak,
but deceives his heart,
so that he deceives himself [into thinking he is truly godly or religious]
this person’s r religion is worthless.
then this person's way of showing his "godliness" is not useful and is meaningless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
On the other hand , godly living that is ready to bear fruit and holy in God's sight, is this:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
that you care for orphans and widows in the midst of their pain and suffering [this demonstrates love and compassion]
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and that you keep yourself set apart from the world and without the world's blemishes.