If I were to ask you if you wanted to be more religious, how would you respond? You’d probably say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Or, “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship.” What if, as a Christian, I told you that it’s okay to say we are religious. What if we should stop hating on the word “religion”.
Religion, in it’s greek translation, has two different meanings: Ceremonial Ritual And Worshipping. The latin meaning is Religio or to bind oneself up. Think about that for a second, as a believer if you say that “you’re not religious”, you’re saying that you aren’t a worshiper of God. Or that you’re not willing to bind yourself up with a covenant with God. So, if I were to ask you if you want to be more religious, how would you now respond?
I think the problem we have is not religion, rather its false religion. Listen carefully, Jesus never attacks religion, but he is always attacking false religion. So what is false religion? Glad you asked.
James,the half brother of Jesus, gives us a blueprint to what Christian living looks like in James chapter 1:26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
James is saying that if you want to say you’re a follower of Jesus, (or that you’re religious) then stop trash talking your enemy, stop gossiping, stop speaking negatively about every situation, stop spreading rumors, care for the poor, and care for the orphans and widows. In this time women would be with kids and if the husband dies, the woman and kids were left vulnerable. So, it was easy for other men to come in and take advantage of them – possibly putting them in slavery or prostitution. James is saying, being religious means that we are to be aware of the people around us that are being taken advantage of and we should help them out. Furthermore, true religion controls its mouth.
So, maybe it’s time the church redeems the word “religion” and start becoming more religious than ever before.