Our verse for today comes from James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Jesus continues His beatitudes by saying, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We often hear about people finding some of their greatest treasures when they’re not looking for them. How many Antiques Roadshow episodes have shown where an unsuspecting person has cleaned out his attic or gone through someone else’s junk, only to find an item of immense worth? And how many movies have played off of the theme of a couple falling in love when they least expected it? Yes, sometimes the only way to get something worthwhile is to not be looking for it. And in a way, I think that is what Jesus is teaching us here, but only to a certain degree. For let’s not forget how He has told us to seek first His kingdom and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. He definitely wants us consumed with Him and the longing for His presence.
So how do we reconcile the two? Well, the power of the gospel is that there is nothing to reconcile. Jesus plainly taught that to gain our lives, we must lose them. And in order to be first, we must be last. And the greatest of us shall be the least. Stephen didn’t see God’s glory and Jesus standing at God’s right hand just before Stephen was stoned because he woke up wanting to see God that day. No, his focus was on glorifying God and carrying out His will as His ambassador. And as he did that, he saw God and was carried into His very presence.
Today’s focus verse tells us that pure religion, the kind that seeks only Him, looks after the orphans and widows in their distress, and keeps oneself unspotted by the world. And that’s the exact idea Jesus is intending. A pure heart that sees God sees the orphans and widows, or the low income and the ethnically di!erent around them, and tends to these creations of God. A pure heart that sees God also avoids the pollution and lure of the world so that they do not have a chance to stain it. So clean your heart, and see God our Father all around you.
As we seek Him today, let’s look at Jesus so hard that we see those around us. Ask God to cleanse your heart and focus your mind so you can see the opportunities that He will give you today. And thank Him for showing Himself to you.