I was reading in James to get a scripture reference the other day for a post I wrote earlier this week. It really made me think! It was James 1:27, where James tells his readers two things…
- …to visit orphans and widows in their distress,
- …and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
I get the first one as we’re called to care for those who need it the most, with a loving caring heart. It really comes down to what Jesus said…
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:34, 35
So we are called to honor and take care of widows in need. 1 Timothy 5:3 Acts 6:1-6. What about the second one? keep oneself unstained by the world. Are we talking perfection here? No, that can’t be right? No one knows that better than Paul in Romans 7:18-19
What does James mean to keep oneself unstained by the world? What James is really doing here if you look at James 1:26, 27… He’s giving us marks of true faith, of pure religion…
So, I thought about a Duck.
“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it is probably a duck.”~Donald
So, just maybe….
- If we talk like the world!
- If we walk like the world!
- If we dress like the world!
- If we desire the things of the world!
Well you get the picture!
James goes on to say in chapter 4…
Needless to say, this gave me some reason to search my heart. Am I influenced by the world, and desire the things in it. Do I have one foot in the world and one foot in my walk with Christ?
If I am honest with myself, sometimes the answer is probably yes!
Back in James 1, James tells us to practice our Christianity by doing acts of grace and kindness, by being doers of the Word, James 1:22-25. Then with a pure heart, James 1:27. But, do not be stained and influenced by the things of this evil world we live in.
How? Peter gives us something to think about in 1 Peter 1. This is one of my all time favorite passages in the bible. 1 Peter 1:8, Peter is talking to the persecuted Christians in Rome and he says this to them…
and though you have not seen Him (Jesus), you love Him, and though you do not see Him (Jesus) now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,1 Peter 1:8 [Emphasis Mine]
Think of that very verse when you try to sit on the fence that separates the world and your walk with Christ.
Peter goes on…
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:13 [Emphasis Mine}
And how do we prepare our minds for action, by controlling our thinking and rejecting the worlds ways and turn to the Word of God. Romans 12:1, 2
It’s all about self-control, as one writer puts it…
To gain self-control, give God control!
Peter’s call to us…
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written,
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:14–16 [Emphasis Mine]
It will not be easy, but remember when Jesus was preparing the disciples for His departure…
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.John 14:26-27 [Emphasis Mine]
Nobody said it was going to be easy in this world! No where in the gospels did Jesus promise us a rose garden life.
What He did tell us is…
He would help us tiptoe through the tulips!
…and that’s a beautiful thing!