Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, April 14, 2016
“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.” (James 1:27).
Just what does it mean to keep oneself unsullied from the world? I am so glad you asked!
It is not enough to simply answer this question in light of our verse’s context today. How can we be accessible to people, empathetic to their needs, compassionate, loving, and giving while maintaining an unsullied character?
The Bible gives us some clues in this. Here are a couple: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1–2). The very first thing we must keep in mind is that pure religionists always submit our lives, thoughts, actions, and everything that we are to Him. We are to be living sacrifices. That is, we give the liveliest and best of us to God for use as He sees fit. When we wake up in the morning we should dedicate ourselves to God to be used as He sees fit. This is only reasonable, especially since God created us and supplies every breath we take anyway.
Then the Bible says that we should not allow the world (obviously, the evil aspects) to squeeze us into its mold. We are not to allow the world’s paradigm to shape or form our manner of living or relating with others. The world is all about take, take, take. The world is about kill or be killed. The world is about if it feels good, then do it, almost without regard for consequences. The world is about living a carnival life until we die. The world is about excess and waste, bigger homes, more luxurious cars, because we “work hard and deserve it.”
However, the God of pure, undefiled religion wants to transform our minds, characters, and personalities so we will give until it hurts, speak life into others, have no real regard for what feels good as long as it is good according to God’s standard, and to loathe waste and opulence when there are so many in our society in dire need of our help.
To be unsullied by the world is to submit to God, reject the world’s paradigm, and yet being present at all times to be God’s ambassadors to all we encounter.