Friday, June 14, 2013

True Religion (James 1:26-27)

- Those who consider themselves religious by going to church, praying, reading the Bible, fasting, etc. but fail to control their tongue in everyday life deceive themselves and their "religion" is futile.
- I find it interesting that James mentioned about deceiving ourselves three times in just one chapter :). Truly, we must be on guard against lies & deception (from the Enemy and the world) and pay close attention to God's truths.
- Tongue-control is very important. If we fail to control/stop gossiping, complaining, slandering, lying, using bad words (filthy language), etc., we're fooling ourselves if we think we're living a Christian life. Our profession of Christianity will thereby mean nothing. Our testimony will also be tainted or destroyed. What kind of witness would we be? Ineffective and pretty much useless.
- God calls caring for orphans and widows in their distress pure and faultless (undefiled). Orphans and widows are two of the most helpless groups in this world (no parents, no family, no spouse, no one taking care of them). They cannot repay you or do you any favor. What you do for them reflects pure love and kindness! This reminds me of Matthew 25:31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats).
- True religion is to live and love like Jesus does, to be more Christ-centered and other-focused, to live a life of love and kindness, free from attachment to earthly things. "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." (~Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision)
- In addition to helping those in need, maintaining personal purity is another way in which true religion expresses itself. "To keep oneself from being polluted by the world"--We must continually make a conscious effort to stay away and protect ourselves from worldly influences/ worldliness (which pollute/corrupt/harm us) "It is not the ship in the water but the water in the ship that sinks it. So it is not the Christian in the world but the world in the Christian that constitutes the danger. Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it." ~J. Wilbur Chapman

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