Religion. It’s me and God, right? Go to church, read the Bible, say a prayer, give some money – is that Christianity?
Maybe I truly and sincerely invest in each of these endeavors. Church is not an obligation, but a welcome opportunity to worship God with fellow believers. I read Scripture with a heart and mind seeking to hear God’s voice through the pages of His word. My prayers are heartfelt and expect, in faith, to be answered. Giving financially is a joyful response of gratitude to all that God has given me. Is this Christianity? Is this true religion?
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and do keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“Pure and faultless” religion means expanding my sphere of me and God to include others – to include those who are hurting and in need. It might get messy. It might be uncomfortable. It is guaranteed to require sacrifice on my part. I may be asked to give of my time, my money, and myself – and probably all three. But as we learn from the rest of James – and really the whole of Scripture – genuine faith will prove itself true in the ways we relate with others. We have been blessed beyond measure through God’s grace and mercy. How can we do any less than extend that blessing to others?