Do You Practice Pure Religion?
“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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Is Your Religion in Vain?
“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.”
James 1:26 (KJV)
How are you? When I was looking for verses about which to ponder and write, I came across this one. I wonder if people know just how powerful words can be. Even self-talk is more powerful than we give it credit. Our words are not to be taken or said lightly. They can testify to our true identity. We may try to act one way, but often our words will divulge our true feelings and beliefs.
Our mouths can be used for good or bad. We can use them to uplift others or to tear others down. They can be used to testify truth or to manipulate and lie. They can be used to show love or to show hate. How do you use your mouth?
Have you ever heard someone who is seemingly religious say something cruel to or about someone? I have. It gives me a funny feeling in my gut, like something is strangely amiss. Sometimes, I can’t put my finger on it at the time. Yet, it is the fact that someone who I thought was so religious and so close to God, really wasn’t. It confused my heart.
The Holy Spirit tells my heart that those who love God and who are religious are called to have loving and encouraging words, truthful words, even admonishment. Yet, those words are not meant to be cruel and hateful. Deep down, my heart knows what is said in James 1:26. The Holy Spirit tells me that whoever pretends to be religious yet, says hateful things, cruel things, or untruthful things are not as close to God as they pretend to be. They are just trying to fool themselves and others.
We are called to use our mouths for good. We are called to encourage others. We are called to praise God and testify to God’s truths. We are called to know when to keep quiet and when to speak. We are called to admonish each other, teach each other, and care for each other in kindness.
I find it interesting that this verse talks about what fake religion looks like. Not everyone both walks the walk and talks the talk. There are people who look as though they are really religious. They may go to church multiple times a week, volunteer, and even give to charity. Yet, they still call people names, put people down, manipulate others, lie, and don’t testify to God’s truths.
We are warned that we shouldn’t fall for fake religion. We are warned that going to church, volunteering, and looking religious are not enough. We are warned that not everyone is as he or she seems.
If we talk one way and act another way, often people can see through us and can tell that we are being hypocritical. So, if we go to church and act religious, it is nullified if we then turn around and speak badly, lie, or cruelly put people down. Not only that, but God doesn’t like it when people who are supposedly representing Him, serving Him, and worshiping Him, speak so cruelly and misrepresent what a true follower is like. I can feel for Him, because I don’t like to be misrepresented either. What about you?
Thank you for your Word! Thank you for your loving embrace and protection. Help us to not get caught up in fake religion, but to seek only your truth and to serve you in truth. Help us to be true when we worship you, serve you, and testify to others. Help us to be true to you in what ever we do. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for James 1:26 (KJV):
*What does James 1:26 mean to me?
*Have I seen people who seem religious but who aren’t?
*How do I feel to see someone misrepresent what it means to love God?
*How do I act? Am I truly a follower of Jesus or just acting like one?
*Do I understand why it is vain to act religious, but then turn around and
misuse my words and voice?
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.