Many of us think of religion as a specific belief. We are asked sometimes, “what is your religion?” An answer we may give is Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Pentecostal, Islam, Buddhism as well as many other choices. It almost seems like a menu, doesn’t it? We have all these choices to pick from. A person can be an atheist too, and have no belief in a supreme being. However, religion is not just a name of an organization that you belong to or a building that you go to! It is really a way of living our belief! I listed below, the definition of religion by Merriam Webster Dictionary. I believe though, that most of all, religion is our beliefs and practices that demonstrate what we believe. The question I have for you today is, “Does your religion please God?”
Full Definition of religion, according to Merriam Webster
1a : the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion b(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance 2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices 3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness 4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 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.”James 1:26-27(NIV)
Does The Behavior of Your Religion Please God?
James states that if we don’t keep a “tight rein” on our tongue, we are deceiving ourselves And our religion is actually worthless! But is our religion really worthless and what makes it worthless? What makes it worthless is if we don’t live according to the principles and beliefs that we claim that we believe! It is hard to keep our mouth shut and refuse to say something unkind or foul. There are expectations that people have of those who say that they are Bible believing, evangelical believers. Some churches teaches that a believer should not drink any alcohol, some believe that they should not dance.
Many different “brands” of certain faiths and religions exist also. For instance, there are Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, Free-will Baptists. There is often so much lack of unity too, between people who claim that they basically believe the same major points of a religious belief. What if we just live though, what God really teaches us personally and live like Christ did? Christ pleased God, He was God’s Son!
Separation should be key in our belief system. The last half of verse twenty-seven states that we should keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. Sanctification, meaning Set Apart, is also key to living a life that pleases God. We are setting our lives apart from the world. Set our minds then on what God loves, expects and teaches us to do! This behavior is what pleases Him!
Two Causes That Define A Pure,Faultless Religion That Pleases God
Two causes that are mentioned in this passage which are defined as pure and faultless are:
- To look after orphans and widows in their distress
- To keep yourself from being polluted by the world(mentioned above).
Passages throughout the New Testament define who is truly a widow, for instance. From a Biblical standpoint, in our own family, we should take care of those who have lost spouses. A real widow is one who does not have any family taking care of them, so this becomes necessary for the church to do this, to help them.http://1 Timothy 5:3-6 In all situations though that demonstrate people who have a need that is physical and tangible, the church should be responsible to look after each other’s need. In the book of Acts, for instance, the early church ate together, they sold things they owned to help each other.
As the passage that I wrote from yesterday about displaying God’s image in our own life, it is our responsibility, according to what God calls pure religion, to live accordingly. We give, we sacrifice and we act in a sort of way that we are seen as different! Meaning, there is a change because of what we believe and who we believe! If God truly has changed us, we should look different. We don’t forget what person we are when we look in that “mirror” we read about yesterday. Our life reflects this change. It was not just because we went to our church and “heard” it in a sermon from our religious place. We listened and now our life has changed!
Need To Talk?
If you don’t personally know Christ as your Lord and Savior and would like to talk more, please feel free to write me a note in the comments and I will talk to you some more about this. It truly is important! Your life and your eternity depends on your personal faith.