Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father sit with us in the garden of our thought-life and consider carefully the stirrings of our well-spring hearts. Father, be gentle with us, but do not withold your love from us! If you must discipline us, if you must prune and dig and uproot and replant and refresh, do so. But do not leave us to alone in the midst of whatever you choose to do Father. Be with us. Be near to us. Draw us close, and mold us into the likeness of your son. In Jesus's name and by the power of the Spirit, grab ahold of us Father, and help us to rest in your grip.
Your Morning Song: "Your Love Oh Lord" by Third Day
Your Morning Scripture: James 1:27
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.
These verses address one of the core motivations of those truly claimed by Jesus as a child of his Father. Selfless love. Even in our current world, but especially in the ancient world, caring for an orphan and a widow gained you nothing, no financial gain, no social gain. They could do nothing for you. They had nothing you needed. There was nothing to motivate you to do anything for them.
And so as James calls out and as Jesus demonstrated over and over again, God commands us to fully realize, to fully express our faith in him by loving those who can give us nothing back.
Who do you love? Who do I love? Is it only those who have something I need or who can do something for me?
My motives matter. Why I do what I do is the truest thing I can say about myself. Do I love others according to God's desire and design?
And if I love the powerless and the needy as God commands, with what sort of instrument? With what tool? With what resources?
Myself. My self.
The only way to actually obey the first part of "pure religion" is to do the second part as well. For if we are living in unrepentant sin, stained by the world, then our love for the powerless ceases to be God-delighting obedience, and is nothing more than a pagan lip-service meant to appease a false god. A simple, impossible, offensive balancing of scales we think we can control.
What are our motives for loving others? Who are we to attempt such love?