for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified – Romans 2:13
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. -James 1:21-27
While living in Mobile, Alabama, I attended Dayspring Baptist Church. The Dayspringers like to consider themselves “Baptacostal” because they enjoyed contemporary worship rather than traditional worship. My impression was they really, really wanted to know the Holy Spirit in powerful way but weren’t quiet sure how to do that but they knew that the Pentecostals seemed to be onto something yet, they really didn’t want to do anything as radical as embracing the full gifts of the Spirit. I am not in any way saying that to be ugly. It was a good church and I attended there until my friends Charlie and Brooke Granade moved on to attend seminary. Charlie was the single’s pastor (very large single’s group) and he was very open to the giftings and movings of the Holy Spirit.
Charlie and the leadership team organized some great activities during that time and one event that stands out was a single’s retreat. It took place in Alabama, not far from the coast, on a creek (although, we Texans would consider it a river). Alabama is a beautiful state if you can overlook the rusting out cars and appliance on the side of the road. It was a lovely retreat center tucked away in the green foliage of lower Alabama. That isn’t what I remember about it. Sure I remember canoeing with Brooke and Alice Burch and also that Charlie put me in charge of checking people in because he wanted someone who would be willing make everyone pay up. The real thing that stands out was the speaker. He was a pastor from Mobile, Terry Bryant. One of thing I remember Terry Bryant saying was, “What you believe is what you do, everything else is just religious talk”.
There are so many times in our lives when we talk and talk but our words do not align with our actions.
What do you really believe? If you want to know what you believe, look at your life. What do you do?
Do not think for a minute your “religious activities” mean you truly believe certain things. We all do it in some ways. Our prayer meeting is more talk than prayer. We send out Facebook updates with scriptures that we took off our “Daily Bread Calendar” rather than from our daily scripture reading (actually our calendar has become daily scripture reading). Or we send out updates with quotes from books that we only read the cover of (Some of us only read the cover of our Bibles or the “devotionals” that are included in our “Leadership Bible” or “Women’s Study Bible”. – That will preach). James said (go back to the top of this post and read the scriptures! Seriously, you skimmed over that part? Read the scriptures, skim the post!!), undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and widows (and as southern hospitality would dictate, don’t arrive empty handed…).
It is time for all of us to start identifying the religious talk in our lives and eliminating it. Stop talking “prayer” and start praying. Stop talking “consistency” and start being consistent. Stop talking about “healing” and get healed. Stop talking about “helping people” and start doing it.
I would like for someone out there who reads this blog (I know almost 100 people a day read this blog – I track it. I know, some of you like to lurk but this time, seriously comment!) to honestly list something you would like to stop talking about and do. Inspire me. Inspire someone! Do something!