“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 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.” James 1:26-27
Occasionally, I love to floor the gas pedal of my car and spin the tires so I can hear them screeching as I take off from a dead stop. I like the sound of the friction between the tires and the pavement and the reaction of the others in the car. I don’t care about how I look doing it.
James speaks about a person who thinks he’s religious; one who talks the talk of spirituality, who knows what to do outwardly to play the part. He says the right words at the right time. He wears the clothes that fit the idea of how a Christian should look. This individual may even tell about how the Lord is leading him in a particular direction, but his life is a series of false starts and unrealized dreams. He believes his own words, but his religion, as James says, is useless and empty. There is no change or growth in his life and all the words of vision and action vanish when a call for commitment comes. The person is quite literally deceived. He lives in a religious fantasy, imagining that he is someone who he is not. What a waste of time!
The Real Deal
If our religion is real, action, not talk is what will come out of us. The Word says true religion visits the fatherless and the widows. That means we will do things that are not glamorous, but are helpful. The Christian walk is not all glory. It’s doing the things that need to be done, comforting those who need comfort, and giving of ourselves in whatever way we sense that God wants us to. It’s more guts than glory. We need to stop gazing at the beauty of our polished car, push in the clutch, shift the gears and burn some rubber!
A new car might look good in the showroom, but looking good doesn’t get you anywhere. The car has to leave the showroom to get you where you want to go. In the process, it’s going to get scratched, dinged, and dented. Occasionally, it will have a flat tire. It might even have to get towed to the shop. The important thing is that it got you somewhere. You took a ride. You took a risk. That’s what true religion does. It loves the unlovely. It feeds the hungry. It goes to places most don’t dare venture. It leads people from uncertainty and despair, to hope and assurance.
Rubber, meet Road.The Christian walk is not all glory. It’s doing the things that need to be done. Click To Tweet