What are you Doing?
James 1:25 – 26
Section 1 – Monday
Read James 1: 26-27
I’ll be using the NIV and the MSG versions.
Verse 26: Talks about being Religious. I am going to jump into some teaching here. Being religious can have several connotations. It can have a good connotations: He was a devout and religious man who loved his family and paid his tithes. Or, it can have a bad connotation: He was a religious man that wouldn’t think of getting his hands dirty in this part of town even if it was for a good cause.
The word Religion can mean a belief in and worship of God or it can mean a system of faith and worship. The difference is so subtle that many people don’t understand the difference between the two. But the difference is the difference between life and death. You think I’m exaggerating but look at how Jesus dealt with this issue in his day.
We see throughout the book of Matthew how Jesus was always comparing the Pharisees to the people gathering to hear him. (Use a concordance or Biblegateway to search for the word Pharisee). The Pharisees were a group of Religious leaders that did not follow Jesus. They were Jews that followed the law of Moses. But they didn’t follow the law with their hearts: They followed it with their behavior only. When a person’s behavior conforms but their heart does not they are considered to be dead inside. Jesus called them whitewashed tombstones. In other words, they looked good but they were not full of love and life.
“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Verse 26 tells us that if our actions do not match our words, then our religion is worthless. If we are not filled with the love and life of God and our actions are not coming out of that love, then it is worthless. Dead actions do not produce life even if they are good and benefit others. We must give out of the overflow of the love and life we receive from God. If not, we will quickly wear ourselves out and become bitter and resentful. We must give out of the overflow or abundance that comes from God not out of our poverty hoping that we will gain love and life or approval from the action.
Verse 27: This verse shows us what true religion looks like. The religion that is believing in God, worshiping Him, and acting out of the overflow of His Love. It looks like taking care of those who are vulnerable. When the world would seek to take advantage of these people, we are to care for them. The best example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan. But in order to continue to do this well, we must keep our hearts pure. James tells us that we are to keep ourselves from being influenced by the world while we are caring for those in the world. This is our responsibility.
So today’s questions are very difficult. Are you obeying the Lord out of your own resources hoping that God will reward you with love and acceptance. Or have you already received God’s love and acceptance and you are serving Him out of your gratefulness and overflowing love?
This chapter has been very challenging as we have learned how and why we go through challenges and how our love for others reveals our love for God. If you have missed any of these studies you can scroll through the Bible Study section menu on the upper right side of the page.
Section 2 – Friday
Reread James 1: 26-27
What did you notice, practice or share this week? How did that impact you?
How has your understanding of these scriptures changed this week?
What new questions or beliefs do you have?