Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Let’s Get Personal

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 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 1:26-27

We have learned that our religion must be practicing and proper. Today we see that you cannot help but notice the emphasis on Personal Responsibilitywhen reading from the book of James.  The use of singular pronouns in the text makes it clear that religion is not a corporate, but an individual responsibility.  Just from this first chapter in verses 23-27 we find in v.23 "anyone "he","his";in v.24 "himself","he";in v.25 "he", "this one";in v.26 "anyone", "he", "his", "this one's; andin v.27 "oneself".
It is wonderful what our churches do for people in need.  The numbers of individuals and families who are blessed by the ministries of the church get to feel the heart of the congregation first hand..  However, some might think that by giving on Sunday they fulfill their personal responsibility to the poor, the widows, and the orphans.  But “corporate” giving was never intended to replace our individual and personal responsibility.  
There is no amount of money that can replace individual hands and hearts in service.  There is nothing we can give that will bless our personal lives like volunteering our time, rolling up our sleeves and getting involved in a project, a person or a family in need.  God wants us to be personally involved.  He wants us to be inconvenienced.  He wants us to sacrifice.
Even as we cannot excuse ourselves from personal service by saying "I gave at the church," we cannot become satisfied with corporate worship and group Bible studies to meet our personal discipleship needs.  Corporate worship and Bible study will never replace personal discipleship in developing our relationship with God and strengthening our faith walk.
We are also individually responsible for our moral and spiritual life; to keep oneself unstained by the world.  Private prayer, meditation over scripture, and devotional time create a daily connection to the Spirit of Christ within us.  In the privacy of our prayer closets we confess our sin and claim His strength and righteousness.  The secret of religion is religion in secret; we can't pay someone else to do our praying, Bible study, worship (our religion) for us! 
The fact that you have chosen to go to the trouble of reading this devotional says that you have accepted some personal responsibility for your spiritual growth.  May others do the same and learn the value of a religion that is valuable to themselves and others. 

Scripture to Claim:
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:16

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