Scripture for Today: James 1:27 “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.”
We have been shopping for patio furniture and it is amazing the array of choices out there. Many of the pieces look as good or better than what I have inside the house. Between the cushions and the outdoor heaters, one can be as comfortable outdoors as indoors. In the right setting and with all these creature comforts, I don’t even realize I am outside.
Our verse for today helps us distinguish between worthless religion (verse 26) and what God will accept. They can seem so similar. One can be sitting comfortably on the outside, not even realizing that it is not the inside. The vocabulary can be the same. The form of worship can be quite similar. The trappings and tradition of religion might be studiously followed. But there is one thing that can let us know we are on the outside; it is too comfortable.
Religion that God accepts will not be comfortable. The book of James makes very clear that true faith in Christ will express itself in self-sacrificing acts of kindness and love. The giving and support we give to those who cannot reciprocate is a hallmark of true Christianity.
Religion that God accepts will not be comfortable as it takes effort to avoid being polluted. Following the standards of the world is easy. Obeying God takes so much more effort and can only be accomplished with the help of His Spirit. No, it is not comfortable, but how worth it to be inside, in an intimate meaningful relationship with Jesus.
Thank you Lord, that it is Your grace and forgiveness that brings me inside!