James 1:27 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.
Imagine a young boy that is all cleaned up and dressed for an afternoon birthday party. His mom now needs a few moments to finish getting herself ready and tells him, “Run out back and play on your swing set. I will be ready in a few minutes. Don’t get dirty out there. I love you sweetie.”
Charlie loves his mom and he loves playing on the swing set. He can swing high. He loves to feel the breeze, to see the clouds in the sky and the ground rushing under his feet. When he swings, he feels as if he is soaring through the air. So everything is good, right?
Charlie has the best intentions. Mom will only be a couple of minutes. But lurking in the corner of the back yard is the mud puddle Charlie dug up yesterday with his toy dump truck. Before he even makes it to the swing, Charlie sees his dump truck and veers off course.
As he reaches to grab his dump truck, he hears his mom’s voice echo in his mind, “Don’t get dirty out there.” Wanting to please his mom, Charlie decides that tossing some rocks in the muddy water would be just as fun. But the rock tossing soon evolves into poking the mud with a stick, retrieving the broken stick from the mud, grabbing the dump truck … You know where this is headed.
God tells us that He loves us and He commands us to not get dirty out there. Like Charlie’s mom’s voice echoing in his mind, the conviction of the Holy Spirit leads us, prompts us and reminds us of God’s standards and His will for our lives. The Holy Spirit also empowers us to be victorious over temptation and sin.
Obviously, I am focusing on the last part of James 1:27, ‘to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ Being a Christian is not easy (Matthew 16:24). Our backyards (our lives) are full of swing sets, mud puddles, green grass, land mines, mountain tops and valleys. Often, with the best of intentions, we head off into our day planning on doing the right thing. But in the weakness of our flesh, we veer off course and ‘flirt’ with sin (throwing rocks, poking sticks, then…). See Matthew 26:41.
Our only hope to stay clean in this fallen world is Christ’s grace and power!
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
We can’t do it ourselves. We have to submit to Christ, to His authority and power.
See also James 4:8 and 1 John 2:15.
Father in Heaver, my Lord, I beg You to give me the wisdom, strength and courage to stay away from the mud puddles in my life. Help me to focus on the intent of Your word, not the ‘letter of the law’. I know that in my strength I will fail. I know that with You, all things are possible. I praise Your holy name and thank You for loving me. In Christ name I pray. Amen