What does it mean to be “religious?”
Most people would say that someone who is religious attends the church or place of worship of their choice and maybe is a student of the Bible. But, a person can attend church regularly and maybe even read the Bible but it doesn’t change their habits or the way they live. So, if that’s the case, what does it mean to be religious?
In James 1:26-27, James writes, “ If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Notice that James says a religious person must control their tongue. Then, he adds, “Pure and undefiled religion means caring for orphans and widows and not being corrupted by the world.”
Pure religion means helping those who can’t help themselves. Worship is important… Bible study is important… but if your worship and Bible study doesn’t give you compassion for the helpless, your religion isn’t worth much. An orphan is someone who is dependent on others for help. They have no parents or, their parents have given them to an adoption agency or a home for children.
This Christmas season, I encourage you to care for the less fortunate. There are all kinds of ways to do it. Our car dealership, Krause Family Ford is a deposit location for Toys for Tots. And many churches will participate in Operation Christmas Child.
James also says we are to keep ourselves unstained by the world. This means not taking on the habits of the world. We live in this world. We are supposed to become friends and develop relationships with people in the world but, we shouldn’t become like the world.
So, pure and undefiled religion means helping those who can’t help themselves and not becoming like the world.
George Washington Corver once said, “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”