I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “all those Christians who go to church are really hypocrites!” How many times have you heard Christians and hypocrites in the same sentence. Maybe even you have said that before you became a Christian – or after.
Confession Time – I can remember saying that about a Christian man I used to work with and that was only 5 years ago. Not my finest hour looking back.
I guess you are wondering, “What has brought Candie to this topic,” well, I was studying for our Women’s Meeting and while I was researching a topic, I came across this verse:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
This verse got me thinking so I marked it down on my little notepad to look at the next day (today) and to write about it in my blog. I had NO idea what I was going to write or which way God was going to take it – all I knew was this was the verse. Today as I was revisiting the James I pulled out my phone to an app where I can see the Greek words and definitions in order to get a fuller understanding. Let me share with you what I found.
When the book of James was written, the people who were most taken advantage of and the ones who were most vulnerable in society were the widows and the orphans. In the beginning of this verse it says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” In today’s society, those who are most taken advantage of and vulnerable is quite larger than just the orphan and the widow.
Then I asked myself this question:
When was the last time you showed charity to someone who was hurting? When was the last time you gave of yourself and your time for someone else other than your child or your husband? When was the last time you showed sacrificial love to someone else such as a stranger or an acquaintance?
I have been there for my sisters – praying for them when they were in need. I have listened to their heartaches and their hurts and offered advise (if I were experienced in the subject) and prayer but I can’t say that I’ve shown sacrificial love to someone I’m not intimately attached to in some way. Sure I give to missions but throwing a few bucks in the mission box at church is NOT sacrificial love.
Then I moved on to the next part of the verse, “…and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” What does it mean to keep yourself unspotted from the world? We have to live in this world, buy from a store, go to work each day – the world around us affects us. How can we keep from being influenced by a world where available information is as close as the phone in your hand? Or as close as the app on your phone (social media)? How can we not allow our environment to move us?
When you look at the Greek word for unspotted it is aspilos (pronounced as-pee-los). It means to be free from vice both physically and morally and free from blame. To put it in a way we can understand:
“…and to keep himself free from blame and to be free from all vices of this world both physically and morally.”
Now I ask myself these questions:
When was the last time you allowed the things of this world affect you to the extent that you were rude to someone else for no reason? When was the last time you allowed your flesh to rise up in a way that harmed either yourself or someone else (like that extra couple chicken nuggets you didn’t need Candie)? When was the last time you allowed your tongue to say things that were not uplifting to another person?
Oh boy…another OUCH!
Now the question is, do I want my worship to be undefiled before God? Do I want it to be pure and honest? If I do then I need to remember what James 1:27 says. It is the definition of pure worship. If I’m worshiping the Lord and I’m not doing it this way, does it make me a hypocrite?
Examine yourself and answer that question.
True or False?