True Religion (James 1:26-27)

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As we saw in the last post, God does not have much respect for big talkers who don’t practice what they say they believe. Today in the end of James 1 we see some specific examples of what it looks like to be “doers and not just hearers” of God’s commands. First, Christians who are truly walking with Jesus will have control over their words. They will not let harmful gossip, angry comments, or filthy language pour out from their mouths. Why? Because evil words reveal an evil heart that is far away from God. Second, real Christians care for other people, not just for themselves. This is particularly seen in taking care of orphans, or children without parents, and widows, meaning women without husbands. God has a special compassion for helpless and needy people like these, and so should we as Christians. Finally, true religion in God’s eyes is to stay pure in our thoughts, words, and actions. Some stuff in this world is just plain wicked and wrong. Blatant and obvious sin should offend and hurt our consciences as Christians. We should make every effort to avoid every form of evil as much as we can so that we can keep clean and close with God. Jesus taught that it is the pure in heart who will see God.

Only two verses for today, but they pack a powerful punch! Today’s Scripture shoots us right in the heart like a spiritual laser. Most of us talk too much and too carelessly. Few of us care for the needy people around us as we should. All of us could do better at avoiding sin and worldliness. My prayer is that we would let God’s Word do its work of sanctification today. May His Spirit keep making our words, deeds, and thoughts more holy so that we might become more perfect like our Father in heaven. In the end, His opinion of our religion is the only one that really matters.

The Text (James 1:26-27)

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 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.

Questions to Think About

  1. Do you think you talk too much? Would your friends and family say you talk too much? Explain.
  2. Why do you think it is important for Christians to have self-control with their words?
  3. Does your church do anything to take care of literal orphans (no living parents) and widows (no living spouses)? How about spiritual orphans (no Christian parents) and widows (no Christian spouses)? Do you do anything to help care for people in need?
  4. How can Christians keep themselves from “being polluted by the world?” What would that look like in our daily lives?

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