James 1:21-27 – “Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 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.”  NASB

Today let us consider some of the characteristics of Pure Religion as we seek to demonstrate that quality in our own lives. 

Pure Religion Hears and Obeys God.  The action of their lives comes from the condition of their heart.  Their response to what is happening around them is rooted in Christ living within their hearts rather than what someone thinks about them.  Their lives are marked by obedience rather than sacrifice or demonstration for personal benefit or acclaim.

Pure Religion Rejoices in Jesus.  That person attributes to God, the true prominence and status of being the Almighty and Living God.  They recognize Him as the One True God.  They realize that without Him there is no hope, no life, no victory, no eternal life.  This person rejoices in the reality that they are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus.  They rejoice because of God’s Covenant and Faithfulness.  They desire to be like Jesus in all things and at all times. 

Pure Religion comes only through the New Birth.  It cannot be learned or earned it is a Gift of God, through the Grace of God.  It is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind.  The words of Jesus in John 3:3 resonate, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   They are dead to sin and alive unto God through the Blood of Jesus and the Grace of God.  They are being transformed not conformed.

Those living a sham and are phony reveal that some professing Christianity may achieve a certain sense of satisfaction out of fooling many or most people.  That cannot be easy because they are acting as they do for appearance, not because of the true desire of their heart.  I have learned that those living in pretense will eventually reveal their true character and nature.  They fail to keep themselves untarnished by the world and eventually will find it impossible to resist temptation.

A person may pretend all their earthly life and be accepted by most as a genuine Christian. They may be highly esteemed and deemed as one who exhibits Pure Religion, but no matter how many are deceived, God will never be deceived.  God is not mocked!

Heaven is for the pure in heart.  The question for you and me is which of the characters of this parable most truly represent who we are at this time?  Is our religion pure or does it give place to some of the other characteristics?  If we read Matthew 25:31-46, where will we find ourselves in this picture?  Is our religion pure or impure?  Only you and I can answer that question for ourselves.  God knows and we know or if we will honestly examine our hearts and lives, we will see clearly. 

If we are not manifesting Pure Religion, I urge each of us to run to the Cross and cry out for God’s mercy and submit ourselves to Him and His will, today. 

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!


Spiritual Blog - Pure Religon

James 1:26-27 – “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  NASU

 James had a way of coming to the point and pointedly declaring relevant truth as he does here.  If you transpose the word religious with spiritual it might be more accepted by some but either way I believe we get the message even if we deny that we did.  He addresses and contrasts two types of religion or spirituality.  One is pure and the other is worthless.

He begins by drawing our attention to the fact that perception may seem like reality but it is not.  He draws attention to how we view ourselves and in today’s world, there is so much effort in every arena and discipline to make people feel good about themselves even when they should face the guilt and conviction that God wants them to deal with.  He says if you think you are religious or spiritual and do not bridle your tongue you are living a deceived life and your perception of your religious status is Worthless. That is bold!

He then defines Pure Religion in God’s sight as one that cares about and ministers to the orphans, widows, and keeps his or herself unstained by the world.  Christianity must by its nature be concerned with the needs of people spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, economically, and in every way.  That does not mean that we neglect other aspects of life but if we have no compassion for people then how can we claim to be followers of Christ who came to ‘seek and to save’ that which was lost?  The very heart of the ministry of Jesus focused on people.  I’ve had preachers tell me that they loved preaching but didn’t like dealing with people.  I always said, “What are you doing in the ministry?”  People not your ability to stand in the pulpit and your oratorical skills should be the focus of your labors.  Some ministers are not pastors and should never lead congregations because that is not the gift that God put within them.  That does not give them license to be unconcerned about people or from loving people.  How can I claim to love God if I do not love people?

I want my religion or spirituality to be Worth Something not Worthless.  I want to develop and manifest Pure Religion in the sight of God.  I am less concerned about what people think of me than what God knows about me.  I do not want to perform religious functions out of a sense of obligation but out of a heart of love that compels me and motivates me to action because of God’s love.  One will be nothing more than a clanging banging gong and the other will bring the nectar of life to hearts.

So as you go through this day seek to manifest Pure Religion in the sight of God and it will minister to those who are hurting and hungry.  Blessings as you go through your day!