What is real “religion”?

27 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. (James 1:27)

This is a scripture that is small but mighty, and it’s packed to the rim, needing to be unpacked. I feel that there’s not enough understanding in the world about what being a Christian really entails. This goes also for those inside the church (body — NOT building). The title of “Christian” is more than simply a declaration of a faith or belief in Jesus Christ. It means more than someone who goes to church on Sunday, gets their praise on, and goes “back into the world” for 6 days of the week amongst everything from parties to “living it up in the good life”. Sadly, as much as I speak this….the world around says completely the opposite.

Take a quick look around you, or even watch the news for a few minutes. It doesn’t take very much to see just how broken and corrupt the world around us is. Even the very political systems which hold our society together are on the verge of collapse and one wrong move could spark an uprising. But still, Jesus is Lord, and He’s good to me. He’ll fix the world…right? WRONG! why? because it leave us with a religion that looks very similar to this:

Jesus is more than a four leafed clover or a lucky charm to get you through your day, and He’s much more than a God who is bountiful in blessings of every size and shape. I’m not discrediting that God could help someone find their keys or score a touchdown, but there’s more to it that what you and I get from Him, and out of Him.

I’d like to make it known that I don’t adhere to “religion” which to me means an idle belief and/or salvation through works. I believe in relationship which in thought, word and deed looks like this:

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a]31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”(Mark 12:30-31)

To extend further, I will add that real love looks like this:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-6)

I think that this kind of love really carries with it a message about going out into the world and being the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to cast out demons, heal the sick, and bind up the broken hearted simply because God has done this to us. Christianity is a one-on-one relationship with Jesus, but there’s more too it than that. Paul, in his many journeys in acts was a living testimony of what it means to be a true Christian, to go out and share the word. Not only preach Jesus, but do the things He did and greater. Jesus didn’t walk in the world to make a spectacle out of himself, but came to show God’s heart. The signs, wonders, and miracles followed him.

There’s a bit of stereotype and misunderstanding about Christianity. It’s an understanding that it’s all about rules and regulations, and that we follow them out of fear of hell. It’s completely false. As Christians, we worship a God who created everything, and is completely Holy. Therefore I think He deserves our best. James 1:27 (above) tells us not to be polluted by the things of this world.What good is it if we’re standing in the pulpit or playing on a worship team singing about how good God is when we’re smoking up in an alleyway or cussing and stealing with friends? There’s more to add to that list, but it’s all hypocrisy in some way, and bound to make people scratch their heads, get the wrong message, and maybe even run out the door. It’s not appealing.

When we’re completely dedicated to a Holy God, such as ours, our actions should reflect it. We’ve come out of the world, and are commissioned with a mission. We should be so self sacrificed that we’d give up our lives for someone, or better yet, make a change in the world.

Take a look at your life and ask how you’ve been a “good person” lately. Have you given even 5 cents to those in need, gave someone cold a blanket, fed the hungry, looked after orphans and widows? These are all qualities of love, the love which we are called to share as true Christians simply because Christ loved us first. People don’t like Christianity because it doesn’t do anything for the world except give boasting rights to a truth that isn’t even seen. It’s full of hypocrites and all just some talk of a “higher power” with rules and regulations with no good reasoning.

Jesus was apointed head of the church, but we are his “hands and feet”. We have work to do, and we’re not doing it.

If we’re going to “talk the talk” as  Christians,  we must be ready to “walk the walk”. Christianity is a lifestyle. So as we do great things, we’ll have a testimony to share. As we walk in the spirit and keep ourselves pure, our testimony will be that much greater. When it boils down to it….just love! Actions reflect belief, and in that, we may be the only bible some person will ever read.



~ by cheynejj on July 12, 2011.

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