Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Jam 1:27
While reading this verse a couple mornings ago a few thoughts came to mind.
In this world, many young people are growing up without both a mother and father or in some cases neither, for whatever reason. Also as a result of the introduction of sin the blessed union of marriage has been tainted by death and has taken many a husband leaving brokenness and sometimes unquenchable sorrow. Caring for the physical needs of these individuals is James’s inspired message to us in this verse, but what are we doing within the spiritual context of this instruction?
As we take the gospel, in love, to this world we are to share and reveal an image of a father, that the world has distorted and that many have never known. Foreign to many is a father of love, free of abandonment, hurt, pain, or rejection, however Love is our Father who art in heaven. Now as for the companionship of a husband lost, the Bible calls the church a bride anxiously awaiting their groom, who we know as Jesus. James along with inspiration from Paul (Eph 5) is laying it out for us and bringing these ideas together so that we can better understand a pure and undefiled religion. People hate religion because it is often practiced outside of love and the pure heart and intentions that Christ ministered with. James is saying if we look at this world as being full of individuals who have been spiritually orphaned and/or widowed, taken advantage of, abandoned, hurt, and rejected by our adversary, the devil, after willingly or unwillingly going his way for a season, they have a need day in and day out that longs to be filled. As we move closer to the second coming of our Savior there is little knowledge and understanding of the true nature of God the Father and His son Jesus, and we are to visit and share with our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. what hopefully is an overflow of Christ in us. The abundance of true wealth, not just our earthly gain, shared with those longing to be restored is an earnest and honest practice of pure and undefiled religion.
Finally, keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, but how?
One day a young minister was being escorted through a coal mine. At the entrance of one of the dim passageways, he spied a beautiful white flower growing out of the black earth. “How can it blossom in such purity and radiance in this dirty mine?” the preacher asked. “Throw some coal dust on it and see for yourself,” his guide replied. When he did, he was surprised that the fine, black particles slide right off the snowy petals, leaving the plant just as lovely and unstained as before. Its surface was so smooth that the grit and grime could not adhere to it. In commenting on this incident, an unknown author said, “Our hearts should have the same characteristic. Just as that flower could not control its habitat, so we cannot avoid living in a world filled with evil. But God’s grace can keep us so clean and unspotted that though sin touches us on every side, it will not cling to us.”
Living in this world we all experience hurt and pain. Our hurt and pain, God who is able and remains faithful, uses to smooth off our rough edges and bring out a glow, a shine, a surface that the evil of this world cannot cling to.
Jesus in His final prayer before Gethsemane asked these things of God the Father, I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As we seek a closer walk with Christ, our religion, in spirit and in truth, in Him as the foundation of our truth and hope and every promise fulfilled, will become purer and our lives will become even more resistant to the things of this world. The Lord is faithful, who will establish you, and keep you from evil. 2 Thes 3:3
Jude says this Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24
Remember as you go through each day, this day, what the truth about a pure and undefiled religion is. Church attendance, yeh sure. Bible study, definitely. Paying tithe, again sure. But nothing can replace walking in and sharing the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Father with the Fatherless and Widowed of this world for this is as we once were ourselves, a broken people without Father or Groom, who have now been called to the family of God. Continue in grace and to grow in faith in our brother, friend, and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Live blessed.