Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pure Religion

James tells us about 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)

After reading this, I did have to look at my own actions – have I visited the fatherless and widows? Yes – girls in my Sunday School class and widows in our church. Do I believe that is sufficient? Nope. I’ve not sought opportunities to practice this pure and undefiled religion.

This verse was at the end of a day’s Bible reading from YouVersion’s Major Belief’s, Christian life. I think it is very good for Christians – anywhere on their journey – to review, re-read, these passages that define what we should be doing in our daily lives.

In his first chapter, James tells us who he is, who he’s serving and who he’s addressing in this letter. He knows his readers had difficulties – and they still do:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4 KJV)

James also knew that we’d need help, with our faith, with our patience but mostly in our wisdom to know what we should be doing:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5 KJV)

God quickly responded to Solomon with wisdom. There were many times I neglected to pray for His wisdom. I felt (and still do at times) I understood what was needed and asked specifically for what I wanted. Key right there – “I”. The next verse addresses people who are looking past God’s plans to their own:

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8 KJV)

It’s our faith in God, our understanding that He has a plan for each and every individual who follows Him, that we can let go of where we want to go and follow where He leads us. I could give examples from my own life where following is so much better than breaking through unplanned paths, but it would mean little to readers. We need to experience it in our own lives, not vicariously through others. We have to do:

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (James 1:22-24 KJV)

Let’s not forget how to celebrate, and enjoy, pure religion.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)