Bible Reading: James 1.26-27

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. This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit the orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26-27

In our devotion today we are reminded of the connection between our outward actions and our inner heart. When we first become followers of Jesus the Holy Spirit immediately works on our visible actions. We stop doing the wrong things and begin the habits of doing right things. But at some point God begins to develop our inner life where He dwells. Acting religious is replaced with internal cleansing, right motives, and purity of heart.

James quickly points out that while an unbridled tongue may bring havoc and damage relationships, the real issue is a deceived (and diseased) heart. This is the cause of a worthless religion – a heart uncleansed and unchanged by God’s Spirit.

As we work on the interior, our heart, true and godly actions naturally spring forth. We don’t have to work at being religious. A heart right with God naturally sees the plight of others such as orphans and widows and is quick to apply the appropriate action. A heart right with God keeps oneself unstained by the world.

Before you do anything for God today check the condition of your heart. When the heart is right, the actions are right.

Weekly Memory Verse: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12.1