Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27, NLT*
The more I read of James, the more I see his overall message is to accept God’s word and to let it change us from the inside out. It’s about loyalty to God and living life His way.
That unlocks a new level of understanding for me in this week’s verse. The most obvious meaning of “refusing to let the world corrupt you” is to not buy into, approve, or indulge in the many things society flaunts that God’s Word tells us to avoid.
In the choice between human ways and God’s, wisdom always follows God. After all, we humans can get ourselves into a heap of trouble.
But I think the implication here, the deeper level, is one of allegiance: of loyalty.
We may abstain from harmful behaviour and thoughts, but if we allow society and those around us to hold a greater influence over our thoughts, decisions or actions, we’re giving “the world” an authority in our lives that rightfully belongs to God.
We need to be considerate of others’ feelings, and God often speaks through the people in our lives whether they know Him or not, but our loyalty belongs to God.
He’s the one we need to go to first, because of His authority, His wisdom, and His genuine care for us.
God who is our Good Shepherd, forgive us for so often living a divided loyalty that makes us unstable in all we do. Help us focus on You in love and in worship. Work Your Word and Your way in and through us, so that we become more like Your Son. Grow us into loyal citizens of Your Kingdom.
A good song to keep our focus straight is Robin Mark‘s “Jesus, All for Jesus.”
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.