Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Religion Reality Check

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Yesterday in my devotional reading, I read through the book of James. I’ve always liked James because it is a practical book and offers a penetrating assessment of true faith (religion). I mean, how practical can you get: Don’t merely study the Bible—obey it; Don’t talk like the world—keep your speech pure; Don’t just claim a love for God, live a holy life; Don’t just say you’re religious, demonstrate sacrificial love. James puts it right out there — a shallow claim to Christianity means nothing to God. God wants a walk that matches the talk. Along with your claim of Christianity, He wants to see godly attitudes and deeds. 

The Apostle John said the same thing, “The one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  . . .  The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes" [1 John 2:6, 10-11]. A true Christ follower walks in the light and demonstrates it with loving deeds to others.  

It’s difficult to get a definition of religion from our culture. When you do, it’s so broad that almost any belief system qualifies for it. But God the Holy Spirit inspired James to describe religion from His perspective — a pure, undefiled religion. Any religion that doesn’t produce holiness and sacrificial love doesn’t cut it. 

Here’s a religion reality check for you this morning: Do you flee from sin and reach out to those in need? If you do, your religion is pure. True religion produces holiness and sacrificial love.

This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1.27

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