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 1:26-27
One of the things I love to do occasionally, (in a responsible way of course), is to floor the gas pedal of my car and spin the tires so I can hear them screeching as I take off from a dead stop. I like the sound of the friction between the tires and the pavement. I don’t care about how I look doing it.
In the book of James, the writer speaks about a person who thinks he’s religious; one who talks the talk of religion. That’s a person who knows what to do outwardly to play the part. He says the right words at the right time. He wears the clothes that fit the idea of how a Christian should look. This individual may even talk about how he is going to start a new work for God and how the Lord is leading him in a particular direction, but his life just becomes a series of false starts and unrealized dreams. He believes his own words, but his religion, as James says, is useless and empty. There is no change or growth in his life and all the words of vision and action vanish. The person is quite literally deceived. He lives in a religious fantasy, imagining that he is someone who he is not. What a waste of time!
If our religion is real, action, not talk is what will come out of us. The Book says true religion visits the fatherless and the widows. That means we will do things that are not glamorous, but are helpful. The Christian walk is not all glory. It’s doing the things that need to be done, comforting those who need comfort, and giving of ourselves in whatever way we feel that God wants us to. It’s more guts than glory. We need to stop gazing at the beauty of our polished car, push the clutch in and shift the gears. We need to burn some rubber! A new car might look good in the showroom, but looking good doesn’t get you to the grocery store. The car has to leave the showroom. It’s going to get scratched, dinged and dented, and occasionally have a flat tire and might even have to get towed into the shop, but it got you somewhere. You took a ride; took a risk. That’s what true religion does. It loves the unlovely. It feeds the hungry. It leads people from despair to hope.
Rubber, meet Road.