“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 1:27 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I wrote about James 1:26, which was about fake religion. This week, I chose to write about James 1:27, which is about true or pure religion. Do we ever think about the difference between fake religion and pure religion? Do we ever check ourselves and pray as to which we are practicing?
It is often thought of that religion means going to church on Sunday. Yet, worshiping is only one part of religion. Going to church is only a small part of pure religion. As we see in James 1:27, pure religion includes loving others, because God loves us. It includes doing things such as visiting and helping orphans, widows, sick, poor, and those who have troubles in some way or another. It includes helping a friend, a neighbor, and even a stranger during difficult times. We all have troubles and it is a religious and Christian thing to help others in whatever way we can.
In other words, religion is a lifestyle, not a once a week date at church. It is serving and comforting those in need, not being pious, prim, and proper. Pure religion is serving others with humbleness, not trying to bring all attention to yourself or your deeds. Pure religion is keeping your focus on God and not the various fads of the world.
So, it is time to look into our hearts and see which we are doing? Are we participating in fake religion or pure religion? What is in our heart? God knows so we can’t fool Him. We may be fooling others, and ourselves but we can never fool God.
For many of us, it may be that we are some where in the middle. That isn’t all that good either. We are to love God with our whole heart. Speaking for myself, I have room for improvement. Do you?
Sometimes, I think we get into a routine, where we don’t really think about how we are doing. I think we may go to church or read the Bible or even volunteer at certain events and think we are doing well. Yet, we don’t always take a good look at what we are doing and how well we are following God’s Word and God’s will for us. We think we are doing well, because we aren’t cheating or stealing or breaking any of the commandments of the Old Testament. Yet, are we following the commandment of Jesus? Do we love God with our whole being in all that we do and loving others as ourselves? This is pure religion.
Thank you for your love and guidance. Thank you for giving us your Word in order to know how we should live and what we should do. Help us to work towards pure religion and not fake religion. Help us to serve you and not to be like those in the world, but those in your kingdom. Help us to love you with our whole heart and whole being and to love others as ourselves. Help us to know that this is what you want for us and from us. Help us to look towards Jesus as our true example and to listen to your Holy Spirit for direction. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for James 1:27 (KJV):
*What does James 1:27 mean to me?
*Do I practice fake religion or pure religion?
*Is religion a weekly visit to a church or an every day lifestyle practice for
*What can I do different to better practice pure religion?
*Do I stop and check myself often to make sure I am doing my best to
practice pure religion or do I get caught up in the habit without thinking
Now, it is your turn!
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“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”
Hebrews 10:24 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope all is well. Have you ever been so inspired by someone doing good things, that you wanted to do good things as well? That is the point of Hebrews 10:24.
There are things, people, and events that happen which help shape who we are and who we become as we grow. Some of these things aren’t so good and some are truly inspirational.
Sadly, I think we tend to remember the bad things that shape us more than we remember the good things that shape us. It is easier to name or blame things or people that may lead to us being grumpy, rude, or downright violent. Sometimes, we are the ones who provoke bad behavior and sin in others.
Yet, instead of bad behavior, we are called to provoke love and good works. So, how do we do this? Well, just like in provoking bad behavior, one of the best ways to provoke good behavior is by role modeling. For example, if you call someone a name, more than likely he or she will call you a name. If you hit someone, more than likely he or she will hit you back. This is role modeling and provoking bad behavior. Alternatively, if you smile at someone, more than likely he or she will smile back. If you are kind to someone, more than likely he or she will be nice to you. This is role modeling and provoking good behavior.
Simple role modeling of love and kindness is a wonderful way to provoke others to act in a similar manner. However, sometimes, we are blessed enough to have someone inspire us in a deeper way to do something loving, kind, and good. I have been blessed in this way before. It is how I chose one of my church families.
I had been looking for a church family and had gone to a couple of churches in the area. Yet, I came across someone who was sewing dresses for children in Uganda. (She does other ministries as well.) I had never known anyone who did anything so special, especially in my local area. The sewing ministry and heart of this person inspired me to go to the same church as she. She is truly a role model that inspires me. And through her work, God is nudging me to do even more. I feel blessed to have this person as a friend. I am thankful that God brought this person into my life.
So, do you role model love and good works and encourage or inspire others to do the same? Let us pray that we all can meet this kind of role model and we all can be this kind of role model.
Thank you for sending your only begotten Son, Jesus to be our ultimate role model in life to show us love and good works. Thank you for also sending family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to role model love, kindness, and good works for us as well. Help us to be such a role model for others. Help us to inspire and encourage others to love, to give, and to do good works. I ask you this, through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Hebrews 10:24 (KJV):
*What does Hebrews 10:24 mean to me?
*Have I ever had people in my life who has inspired me to love and kindness?
*Have I ever inspired others to love and kindness?
*What can I do to better live out the words of Hebrews 10:24?
Now, it is your turn.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.