Main point summary
If you think you are religious, but your behavior does not reflect this you are deceiving yourself and your religion is worthless.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If someone thinks they are holding to a godly standard
q and does not bridle his tongue
and does not restrain filthiness from coming from his mouth
but deceives his heart,
But he is deceiving himself,
this person’s r religion is worthless.
Then his religion is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
On the other hand religion that is not worthless in God's sight looks like this:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
To visit the least of these(Matthew10:40)
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
And to not love the world. (1John 2:15-17)
"It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person." Math 15:11
It is as easy today for us to deceive ourselves into thinking we are religious as it was in the days of James. It is kind of God, through James, to give us a picture of deception and a picture of undefiled religion for our course correction. For we know that , " if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 x each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed y by fire, and z the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, a he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, b but only as through fire." 1 Cor 3:12-15. James is giving us an opportunity to evaluate what we are building with. As James points out over and over, Satan is forever trying to decieve us. And according to the scriptures he will succeed. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord,Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them,' I never knew you; depart from me, your workers of lawlessness.' Matthew 7:21-23 We need to continually ask God to purify of hearts so that our actions proceed form love and so that we are not deceived. In this way will be assured of hearing, "Well done good and faithful servant...Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21