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
Listen: James 1
Much of what James writes involves doing. He wants people to move beyond just hearing the truth of God’s Word. They need to put it into action. But, his definition of “pure and faultless” religion, includes a significant don’t. James says, “Don’t be polluted by the world.” He’s talking about those systems of beliefs, philosophy, morals and values opposed to God. James’ readers wouldn’t have understood pollution like we do. Still, they were familiar with the filth and dirt that was part of everyday life in first-century Israel. There were animals all over and no modern-day sanitation. James is essentially saying, “Don’t be contaminated by the moral filth you experience every day.”
The world wants to influence every part of who we are. It does it through “…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…” (1 John 2:16). This includes our speech, money and our bodies. When we’re swayed by this influence, we’ve become polluted. We no longer live as a true follower of Jesus and a child of God. That’s why in this case only, James says “Don’t” instead of “Do.”
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Keeping ourselves unpolluted from the world requires continual vigilance. It means we need to evaluate every area of our life continually. Some especially challenging areas can be the television programs (series) we watch, the video games we play, the people we follow on social media and the things we buy. As you welcome God into your day, pray for discernment. Ask for the help of God’s Spirit as you evaluate these areas (and more). Ask your family or a close friend if they’ve noticed any areas which are beginning to look more like the world and less like God.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.