“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Consider the simplicity of what constitutes “real religion.” Real religion is not about fancy “theology” or philosophical arguments that are difficult to understand. Real religion works itself out in concrete: watching what we say, taking care of those in need, and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world.
What we say reveals what is in our heart. As Matthew 12:33-37 and James 3:9-12 say, what is in our heart comes out in what we speak. We cannot pretend to be one way in our heart and talk a different game. What we say and how we say it impacts the lives of others. We can either be a great blessing to people or cause them distress by our words and our speech. Those who believe that what they say has no impact on others deceive themselves and their religion means nothing.
Widows and orphans. Those who cannot take care of themselves. If we have the love of God in our hearts we will be aware of the needs of others -particularly those who have no one else to care for them-and be willing to help them.
Keeping ourselves unspotted from the world means that we do give ourselves willingly to worldliness that corrupts our desires. It means that we take God-likeness seriously and pursue the fruit of the Spirit not the works of the flesh.
James presents us with simple instruction that tests our hearts. How do we fare? Are there ways in which we can grow in our faith being more “pure and faultless”?