My faith is not based on a religion but on a relationship with Jesus Christ. My religion gives body to the truth of the relationship and produces an avenue of worship offered to my heavenly Father, not to earn merit but express His merit, as truth breathes His life and love into me. The pureness of my religion will be seen in how I live out the truth expressed by James.
“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. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:26,27.
The truth is every person has a religion, something believed and lived out. I’m going to address vain religion briefly; “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” Prov. 13:3. The world does a decent job of defining and declaring a vain, empty religion. The scripture shows us the true, pure religion based on a relationship with Truth.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this…” “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and aabideth for ever.” 1Peter 1:22-23.
“”And now, Israel, what doeth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deut. 10:12
Pure religion is born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God, producing a pure heart that genuinely loves others because those that bear it have been touched by the love of the Father. It is undefiled, not polluted by the sin or philosophies of the world nor vain religions.
“…To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom…For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matt. 25:36-40.
I know from my Mom’s loneliness, since Dad’s death, what a simple visit means to her. Visiting entails a giving of your self to the care and oversight of those who have no one; a friendly visit, taking a meal by to enjoy with them, caring for them in tangible ways. The widows and, yes, the fatherless, the ones who need a mentor, a friend, maybe a place to stay, for some it may mean adoption or foster care. God loves and cares for them and has given them into our hands.
“…and to keep himself…” “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” Prov. 4:23-27. “Keep yourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21. “…but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself.” 1John 5:18b.
Guard your heart by taking heed to your thoughts through the knowledge of God’s word.
“…unspotted from the world.” “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Rom. 12:2a. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1John 2:15.
If the measles’ germ is in you, the world will know it by the red spots coloring your body. If your religion is the product of Jesus Christ in you, the world will know it by the works produced by that relationship. Finally, guard that relationship religiously.
Leaving you for the weekend with Jesus’ prayer for you: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but…keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth…I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou lovedst me…” from John 17.