As I was thinking and praying on this I came across a great passage I wanted to share with you from James 1:19-27..."Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein , he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (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."
The first verse hits us right where it hurts, doesn't it? Be quick to listen, but slow to talk and quarrel...the Amplified version brings it out like this..."Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry." So we need to mind our tongue and temper, people (actually pointing more at myself than others here). We also see it continue that by getting angry and offended we are not showing forth the righteousness of God.
Verse 21 continues by saying to get rid of all the junk we are carrying around, whether it be by habit, addiction or whatever else it could possibly have a hold on you. The Amplified puts it this way..."So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls." So when we get rid of the stuff that holds us back, we allow room for the Word to penetrate and work in and through our lives.
The next verse is one we have all heard numerous times...be doers and not hearers only. If we listen that's good, but if we put no action to our belief, how can people see it? If we don't show forth the love of Christ, how will anyone even tell we possess it? And as it continues on, if a man seems "religious", but can't control his tongue...his religion is vain. This is where I would make the case against religion and FOR Christianity. It's not about men's ideas and interpretations, but rather about Christ...it's ALL ABOUT HIM!!!
And finally, what TRUE religion (Christianity) looks like...be there for those in need and keep one's self unspotted from the affairs and sins of this world. I hope this passage holds great meaning for you and maybe struck a chord in your heart today. But, as it says...don't just hear it...DO IT...and what better time than today. No telling who you will encounter today that need to know what you have been hiding in your heart...let it show!
Please let me know if you have a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today!!!