Brothers | Weight Lifters | Deep Roots
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)
“Just gimme the list,” we say. “Living the Christian life would be easier if we had a list we could check off.” Well, James heard you, so here’s the list: 1. Defend the fatherless. 2. Make sure widows are taken care of. 3. Don’t live according to the world’s values. Pretty simple, huh? Notice what this list does NOT include. It does not say, “Angrily debate theology on the internet.” It does not say, “If you love Jesus you will share this meme.” Nor does it say, “Love people by redefining sin.” God’s list is simple but comprehensive. It describes a morally upright person who invests time and resources in caring for others.
But here’s where we mess up. We’d prefer to choose one from the list and ignore the other two. That thinking creates social reformers who campaign for the homeless but indulge in sexual sin. It results in church denominations championing orphans but redefining God’s moral law. On the flip side, we also find self-righteous rule-keepers who take no thought for the helpless. This list assumes that our care for the lonely will spring from a private life that honors God. Think of it like a strong tree. Moral purity is the root system that keeps the tree anchored despite strong winds and drought. A life with such deep roots can support branches in every direction: orphan care, missional giving, elder care, feeding programs… The branches may be heavy but won’t break because the roots are strong. But without deep moral roots, the tree will never produce a lasting harvest.
Final Thought: How strong is your tree? It needs both roots and branches to thrive.
Prayer: Father, obeying you is a lot simpler than we make it. You want us to be grounded in your truth and then live that truth in everything we do. Help me keep my roots anchored in moral purity while serving the least among us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.