Week 3. Friday: True Religion
PRAY: Ask God to speak to you from His Word.
READ: 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.
UNDERSTAND: get a deeper understanding of the key words
Consider themselves religious: Almost everyone considers themselves a Christian, or at least a good person. Because we’re not as bad as someone else we think we are better than what we really are. This is an issue of pride and comparison.
Tight rein on their tongues: As the old saying goes, “never miss a good opportunity to shut up.” Throughout scripture we are taught that a wise person is slow to speak. Words have more power than we realize. That’s why James will come back this a few times in his letter.
Their religion is worthless: If you think you are a good Christian yet your words are harmful or ungodly, all your religious acts are discredited.
Pure and faultless: This refers to being authentic and correct. True religion or Christianity is not about rules and rituals like it was in the Old Testament. True religion is about being like Christ to the world around us.
Look after orphans and widows: Jesus taught that what we do for the oppressed we are doing for Him (Matthew 25:34-40). Serving those in need is a key element of following Christ.
Polluted by the world: As Christians, we are called to live a different kind of life than the world around us. We must work daily to keep ourselves from being polluted by the culture we live in.
APPLY: What is this passage calling me to do?
Do you consider yourself religious? Why or why not?
Why is it a struggle to keep a tight rein on what we say? What are the consequences of saying everything we think or feel?
How does James’ definition of religion differ from modern day Christian culture?
PRAY: Ask God to help you to be authentic in how you follow Christ.