Saturday, June 21, 2014

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)

I know some widows, and I know some fatherless children. I’m certain we all do. Seeing to their needs is defined by James as pure religion, so just what does our society think religion is, besides being a noun?
  • the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:  "ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
  • a particular system of faith and worship: plural noun: religions:  "the world's great religions"
  • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: "consumerism is the new religion"
Yes, I looked it up. So many words have changed since I was in school, back when “gay” meant one was happy, cheerful and it related to ones disposition. I wanted today’s definition of “religion” and it is just as strange.

I do not have faith in a “superhuman controlling power”, though I do believe in the personal God as described in the Bible. The second comes close regarding faith and worship, as does the third with it’s supreme importance. Still, it is at variance by selecting a secular item as a “religion.” What does the word mean to you – and what would its purest form be?

I don’t think simply providing money to a widow or a fatherless child is the bottom line, either. Our government has done an excellent job of flowing money into programs designed to help, with extremely limited results. I think Jesus’ parable comes much closer to defining an active belief in a God involved in our personal lives:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, 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. (Matthew 25:34-36 KJV)

Religion is not a floating bubble of imminent destruction. Religion is action.  It is faith in a supreme being, certainly not human or superhuman. I like how James was inspired to write:

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)

If we look at religion and simply see a reflection of ourselves, there is no reason to be a follower. We are deceiving ourselves. There are boundaries to be met, action to be done and blessings to be received.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:25 KJV)

Do something nice today for a widow or a fatherless child. It’s a pure thing to do.

1 comment:

  1. People in our current society think of religion as an unbending system of unbending beliefs. Now...I was taught as a very young Christian that being a Christian has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with relationship.


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