RELIGION Putting Your Faith To Work
Updated: Mar 20, 2022
“The world does not need a definition of religion as much as it needs a demonstration.”
Tired of being religious? Try putting it to work.
As more men now being part of our church, we finally got an outreach going that our men leads: ministering to the widows and senior citizens of our community.
They visit the widows and elderly once a month and minister to their needs and share the Gospel with them. At first, our men including our young men are hesitant and unwilling because they are shy and uncomfortable sharing the Word and praying for them. They are just happy to bring a bag of rice and a couple of canned goods to the widows and elderly.
Our first outreach changed their minds and attitudes toward doing this ministry. Positive reactions are aplenty with the men after their first visitation. One experienced so much joy in being able to give the elderly and widows a couple days of food sustenance. Another enjoyed seeing the tears of joy and smiles from the recipients of food packs. Another loved the camaraderie that is being developed between the men and the closer relationships they are building together in their ministry as men. But what is important is that they understood what James was talking about in James 1:27.
“ Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
When we think of the word religion we think of a variety of things: rituals, worship, duties, following certain rules, behaving certain ways, etc. But the word “religion” here, in its most refined form, refers to an outward expression of faith, a demonstration of something that is inwardly true. It is describing a “pure and undefiled” outward expression or demonstration of something that is inwardly true—namely of who God is and what God does.
That’s pretty much the idea here, and the context of the whole book of James is a call to put our faith into action.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
I once was so tired of church that I felt there is got to be more to just going to church, attending Bible studies, going to fellowships, being part of a cell group or life group. Even daily reading of the Bible and praying became so tiring for me.
Not until I studied the many Bible verses that talks about helping the poor and the needy, paying attention and caring for those who are marginalized, and providing resources to those in need that I found the joy of serving not only God but also others. I also find it to be a great way to express God's love to others and the easiest way to share the Word of God.
It the most fluent way to speak Christianity to those who are without Christ. A pure and undefiled religion is about having relationship: relationship to God and others.
One way we disciple our men is to put into practice what the Word teaches us. It is the lesson that these men learned from visiting the widows and elderly that they appreciated the most. They get to see and experience why the Bible teaches us to demonstrate God’s love through our action and not just with our words. What a privilege and honor to see these men grow deeper in the knowledge of Christ even as their love for God and others grow. Please keep these men in your prayers as God develops them to be leaders of the church and servants of the Lord.