“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
The new Testament uses this word translated “religion” only 4 times. It’s not surprising. The apostles were teaching a radical move away from the rigid structure of the Law and into a greater understanding of God’s grace and how we can love and trust him more deeply and with greater freedom.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with practicing our faith in an organized and systematic way. Religion isn’t a bad thing if that religion is built on God’s Word and our understanding of his grace. We do not save ourselves by being more “religious.”
That said, too, any system of following God that is based on His Word will include two major lifestyle choices – taking care of women and children who need family and money and not letting the world’s values water down our obedience to God.
Think: How are you “doing” God’s Word when it comes to helping the needy and shaking loose of the world’s values?
Pray: Ask God to help you grow in your helpfulness to needy people and in how you avoid letting the world’s values set the course for your life.
Do: If you don’t know, ask someone what your church does to help “widows and orphans in their distress”?
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:23-24)
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)