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).
When we talk about religion or being religious, it is most certainly every one of us will have something to say about what this term means, that is as it relates to us personally.
Some of us might just see it as a ritualistic act of going or belonging to a church or a place of worship. Others may add to this some additional activities, such as judicious penance and cleansing exercises, prayer meetings, Church and community services, charity and almsgiving, and many more selfless or self-inflicting rituals and services.
Frankly speaking, all these activities and rituals may not be bad in themselves, however, if not done with the right intentions and purpose(s) may become very hollow, and futile.
Zeal without knowledge is a terrible thing. The word of God says “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 (KJV). This happens when we go about working out or trying to fulfill our righteousness based on our thinking rather than what God is saying or doing.
So, what must we do to practice religion the right way? Our Bible verse for today — James 1:27— gives us a step-by-step method to follow. This is the procedure it lays down for us to follow.
First and foremost, in this Bible verse, we see a totally new branding of what true religion should be. This is called ‘Pure Religion.’ So, what are the terms, and way of life for working out this religion?
To work out this kind of religion our hearts must be fully involved. It should be a heart completely dedicated to God, and His commandments in love. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37(KJV).
Likewise, we should also have a heart for people, and love them as we are commanded by God to do. “And the second is like, unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:39(KJV).
Loving God and doing His commands puts us in an acceptable position before God. Therefore, we get to stand blameless and undefiled. In doing this we know that we are not working out this religion base on our own strength or human abilities.
Rather, we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit who takes reign of our lives and helps us accomplish what God wants us to do. Our hearts become knit with God’s heart to work out His purposes and intentions for His creation, loving and helping those who are helpless, those who are most vulnerable in our society — the widows, orphans, and the poor.
Finally, to work this mode of religion requires radical faith. A faith that would stand for nothing less than God’s righteousness no matter what the world brings against us. Our God is a Holy God, and therefore He expects us His children to be Holy, adopting His ways and lifestyle, and not what the world has to offer.
To walk the Christian faith is not to assume a mediocre religious status, but rather it is a higher calling. A calling only situated on, and around God’s terms, what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it according to His righteous judgments.
Our striving towards living out a pure religion must be done with a focus based on knowledge, Intentionality, and purpose following God’s specified terms laid down in the Bible. It is only when we understand and put this into practice that it can be said that we are separated and unspotted from the world, working out purity!
Ebimobo W. Obasi
PLEASE PRAY ALONG:
A Prayer to Intentionally Serve God and Others
FATHER GOD, You know my heart and intentions. Search me and know my ways and purify my desires to look more like Yours. Help me to be a light in the world. You invite me to care for others around me. Please provide opportunities where I might love and serve You better and also encourage and serve people that You have placed in my world. In JESUS MIGHTY NAME AMEN.