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
James teaches his readers that real religion that reflects Jesus doesn’t look like the world. By “world” James doesn’t mean the created world that is full of beauty which God deemed “good” (Genesis 1). Rather, the “world” means the systems and ways of living that go against God as revealed in Scripture. It’s the things that oppose the work of Jesus on earth. James knows how easily people can be influenced, even in subtle ways, by the culture they live in.
We are also immersed in a world that seeks to influence us away from Jesus. The world says truth is defined by an individual, not by God’s Word (John 17:17). The world gives more value to people who look a certain way or achieve certain things, but God’s Word says people have value simply because they are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). The world says sex can be experienced however we want with whoever we want. God’s Word says sex is a gift to be enjoyed exclusively in marriage between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). The world says to hate your enemies and cancel them. God teaches us to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). With God’s help, we can resist the lure of the world and live by his Word.
TODAY: Consider everything you read, watch and listen to. Does it encourage you toward Jesus or toward the world? Commit to allowing God’s Word and godly voices to have the most influence in your life. Consider joining the Bible reading plan as we look for Jesus in the Old Testament.
JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Read Luke 19. Highlight anything that refers to the Old Testament and how Jesus fulfills it. Note Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and look up the Old Testament cross references listed in this section.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.