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James 1:26-27
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 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.

As someone has said, “Jesus did not come to earth to start a religion. He came to earth to teach us how to accept and share the love of God, our Father.” Now there certainly is nothing wrong with belonging to a church as the Bible teaches us to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together. However the Bible does say that a man’s religion can be vain which means useless, of no purpose, empty and void of force, truth, success or results.

What causes a man’s religion to be vain is that the man doesn’t bridle his tongue but rather deceives his own heart.

Isn’t one of the issues in today’s world the unbridled human tongue? Even in the church we see the unbridled tongue. If the tongue is unbridled then the heart is open and susceptible to deceit. The terrible thing about deceit is that you’re wrong and don’t know it. How scary is that?

We are given three marks to measure our religion against. Do we visit the fatherless? Do we reach out to those who don’t have a father or to orphans? That applies naturally and spiritually. Do we reach out to those who have not yet meet our heavenly Father?

Secondly, do we visit the widows in their affliction? Or do we wait for them to come in our doors and visit us in all our perceived spiritual grandeur? A widow is someone who has lost their husband to death in the natural and it can be those who have lost their love relationship with Jesus Christ in the spiritual. Do they have to come in our doors or do we visit them?

The third mark is do they keep themselves unspotted from the world? You can dress, look and act certain ways when you go to church and say you believe certain things and that doesn’t mean you are keeping yourself unspotted from the world. Unspotted from the world means that I am going out into the world, taking care of my responsibilities, visiting the fatherless and widows and bridling my tongue. That is pure religion that produces results in my own heart and in others and not a vain empty religion coming from a deceived heart.