I didn’t preach this past weekend, but we read from the first chapter of James during the service. It’s a passage I love.
But here’s the verses that really speaks to me when I think of people out there who say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.”
“If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:26-27
These people who look at the church, or “religion” today are seeing a certain thing. They are seeing buildings. They are seeing denominational structures of various sorts. They are seeing certain news stories coming out of corruption and other evil acts in the church.
These are not examples of religion. At least not as defined by James.
James gives us a true, biblical definition of what “religion” looks like. Notice there’s no mention of building. No mention of committees or denominations.
Religion is service. Religious is the giving of ourselves to better the lives of others.
It’s love. In action.
How are we doing?
Somewhere along the way we lost this definition. Is it no wonder why people have lost their connection with religion when we ourselves are not living it out?
Let’s get it back! Let’s remember what it means to represent Christ to the world. Let’s be agents of hope, change, and, most importantly, love! Not just for the folks around us, but especially those who need it most in our communities.
Imagine the consequences of the church living out a religion as James defines for us!