23. Help those who are in need- James 1:27
James 1:27-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.
Religion. Religion as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods: A particular system of faith and worship.
Many people hear the word RELIGION and they feel a sort of shutter go down their spine. Our mind goes all over the place as we think of different religious experiences that we were involved in or avoid. We want to categorize these religions as either good or bad, right or wrong, genuine or cult, truth or heresy.
As a Christian, I even find myself frustrated by the word RELIGION. I believe that is because we go by a human definition and that can be confusing and scary.
The definition that James uses is not of man. It is God's. God has refined the meaning of the word. It is no longer defined by what you believe but by what you do. Religion finds it's purity in the fruit that you bear.
James goes on in chapter 2 of this letter by asking believers what good is your faith if your just listening to it without actually responding to it. He issues a challenge to compare faith, "You show me the fruit of your faith without deeds and I will show you the fruit of my faith with deeds." That's because world religion often doesn't produce much fruit at all. But religion that God accepts as pure and faultless produces a change in the person that expresses itself in bearing much fruit...30, 60, and even 100 fold!
I share this insight with you because bearing fruit is what the Christian lifestyle is all about. Religion is measured by the fruit of faith produced by stirring of love for God and compassion for others.
May God bless you this day as you shine the light and bear fruit for the Lord.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father; You are awesome because you fill all my needs. You have given me life, abundant life in Christ, and the gift of eternal life. I ask and pray that you will help me to see the needs of others. Help me to bear spiritual fruit in my faith. Be with those that I cannot help and meet their needs in your power and grace. In the name of Jesus I pray, AMEN!