Good day People of GOD.
Today we will be looking at James 1: 27, where James says that pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction- in other words, to show mercy and compassion.
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 KJV).
Pure and unadulterated religion is simply this: ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world’. This is Christianity, pure and simple. Thus, there is no more to Christianity than mere ‘religion’. In Matthew 23, JESUS criticises the Pharisees for several things. Many of them include the fact that they are proud, very self-righteous, and they create so many rules that burden people, yet they are not holy themselves. The tip of the iceberg is where JESUS tells them:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former (Matthew 23: 23 NIV- emphasis mine).
JESUS essentially is saying that religion, specifically Christianity, is incomplete without justice, mercy and faithfulness. Without these values, religion is empty, useless and vain. This is why JESUS attacks the Pharisees in Matthew 23 for being vain, but having no substance in their religion. They are merely religious, but they are not Godly. There is a vast difference between being religious and Godly. They do not mean the same thing. This is why I don’t refer to myself as ‘religious’. Nevertheless, this blog post is a response to certain things that have been happening in my local community lately, which makes me to question if there is still true Christianity on earth, and if yes, ‘where is it?’. Even I daily ask GOD to help me be a better Christian.
When you talk about change, it has to start from the individual, and from the local church. You and I have to start showing the three basic values of Christianity- justice, mercy and faithfulness, so that they can resonate in our local churches and our local communities. Ask yourself, ‘Have I truly been exercising the basic values of Christianity?’ Look into yourself to see if you truly exercise these values. Beloved, it is easy to just go to church, focus on your own spiritual growth, and mind your own business. However, it takes effort to not just go to church and be a bench warmer, but to also exercise these three: justice, mercy and faithfulness. I therefore implore you to make that extra effort and show justice, mercy and faithfulness to your fellow believers and neighbours. One of the prayers I regularly pray for myself is, ‘GOD, give me the Grace to be a Christian according to your own standards’. There are some things that happen to other believers, and you wonder where you could have come previously in to prevent the tragic event from happening.
These values: justice, mercy and faithfulness, only exist in a heart that is full of love. And remember GOD is love (1 John 4: 8). If you are truly born of the Spirit, you should have these values at the very top of your heart, so that you can be able to ‘dispense’ them when needed. The Mercy of GOD is what triggers the Love of GOD in your heart. If you let the Mercy of GDO reign in your heart, the Love of GOD will overshadow your life.
Furthermore, I want to encourage you to steer of something my dad calls the ‘coffin syndrome’. There are some people who are so selfish that they wait for somebody else to be dying or dead before they do anything to help that person out. Somebody does not have to be dying before your compassion or sympathy is aroused. For instance, say there is that distant cousin who is having a hard life, or sick or suffering. You hear about them every day, but you don’t give them a cent to better their lives. Then, you come back home one day, and hear they have died, and you are asked to contribute money to give them a decent burial. If you contribute anything, GOD is still not happy with you, and your money would not result in any blessing. When the person was alive, you did not help them have a better life. Then, when they die, the money that would have saved their lives is what you use to bury them. Thus, rather than wait for someone to be dying or dead, show mercy and compassion to them. Even if it is only a little you can afford, you can make a world of difference.
Finally, you do not have to be rich or have a lot in order to show mercy or compassion to your neighbours or fellow believers. When I was growing up, I used to think, ‘GOD, make me very rich, and nobody will be hungry around me’. Later I realised that I had to start with the little I have to make a positive difference in any way I can, rather than wait to be ‘rich’. Moreover, you are not a true Christian if you don’t exercise justice, mercy and faithfulness. You don’t have full claim to the title, ‘Son/Daughter of GOD’. I did not say it. JESUS did. GOD wants to use you to bless somebody in your local church, local community, at your office or home. Just open you heart, and HE will use you.
May the LORD bless the study of HIS Awesome Word in JESUS’ Name!
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GOD bless you all ♥♥♥
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