“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.” (James 1:27)
Sin makes a mess of our lives. It stains everything it touches. It soils the soul. God graciously offers cleansing through the precious blood of Jesus. His blood washes us from our sins and purges the soul of the filth of sin. Grace takes messed up people and cleans them up, all to the honor and glory of the God of all grace and mercy. The Father desires that we live pure and holy lives. But, James lets us know that pure and undefiled religion involves getting our hands dirty. We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, but we are also to see to the needs of those around us. This requires that we be proactive in reaching those around us. We must look for opportunities to serve. We need to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked, warm those who are cold, give water to the thirsty, tend to the sick, visit the oppressed, bind up the wounded, lend a shoulder to the burdened, give ear to the hurting, comfort the mournful, and a thousand other things that require getting our hands dirty. Let’s refuse to sit idly by while opportunity upon opportunity to show Jesus pass us by. Practicing pure religion gets messy.
“Father, help us to be your hands in this world, serving as Jesus served. Help us to seize the opportunities that you bring before us to allow Jesus to shine forth in this world. Help us to get our hands dirty so others can come to know you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”