James 1, 22-25
Something to read
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 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.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Religion is getting a hard time in the Western world these days. Research in the UK consistently shows that while about two-thirds of adults regard themselves as Christian, they want to practice their faith without religion, and in particular without submitting to the practices of the Church. In their opinion, religion is worthless. And a lot of that has come from things that have been said by those who lead and shape church life.
Someone has said that the only really interesting thing about religion is God. If only we could keep what lies deepest in the heart and mind of God at the centre of our shared life as Christians, we would not create the worthless religiosity that people have grown so tired of. James’ formula is clear: watch what you say, take care of the poorest and most vulnerable, and guard your heart from the pollution of self-seeking and self-gratification all around you. Now that’s what I call a church!
Something to do
Make up a chart of how much time you spend in a week talking about or discussing the things of God, how much time you spend in practical help for the needy, and how much time is devoted to keeping your heart pure. Have you got the balance right, given what James says here? If not, make a plan to change how you spend your time.
Something to pray
Lord, help me to do your work in the world, whilst watching my heart so that it does not get contaminated in the process. Help me talk less and do more.
Today's contributor is JUST LIVING, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.