Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27 (KJV)
Religion – This is not a word based on theological doctrines. The word, thrēskeia means worship, and worship in the Hebrew worldview has everything to do with how you live – it’s what you do.
Thinking about this, thrēskeia has nothing to do with what you wear to church, whether or not your fold your hands, which prayers you recite, or even what order of service you hold in your building on Sunday. It doesn’t have anything to do with man-made order or doctrine. It’s actually quite the opposite of what we might think of as religion today. Thrēskeia isn’t about what you do in church, it’s about everything you do outside of it.
When we understand that, we can see the connection James is making above. It’s about caring for the orphans and widows, it’s about sacrifice. How often are you helping within your community? How often are you stepping up to take the burden from others? This is worship… this is thrēskeia.
So many have the wrong outlook of religion today. They believe it’s the way we think, and what we say. It’s become all about how we bow in church, or which songs are sung. Are we going through all the proper motions together? Are we all wearing similar clothing? There’s our religion! And when something is not being followed, or people begin to think differently we might accuse them of not being [enter religion name here] enough. We threaten with fear and expulsion… or maybe just rejection from the popular groups.
But this isn’t worship. Worship is aligning ourselves with the commandments of God (His will), and living according to the Way. We become exceedingly joyful when we know what God expects of us. Our relationship with our Creator enlivens, as does our relationships with others. This all comes from action.
What are you doing outside of church? That’s what your religion is.