Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27 NRSV
There is a story of a young woman who went on an outing with friends to a coal mine. As part of this adventure, a miner would lead them into the depths of the mine. This young woman showed up in white pants, a white blouse, and brand new gleaming white sneakers. Her friends began to joke about her clothing choices for the outing. Feeling somewhat defensive, she turned to the old miner and asked, “Can’t I wear these white clothes into the mine?” The miner exercising restraint replied, “There is nothing to keep you from wearing it in, but it’ll be a challenge wearing a white outfit back out.”
As with the young woman, we find it sometimes challenging to remain unstained by the world. To be a light to the world, we need to shine in the darkness. Said another way, light among light is not noticeable. Satan uses our natural propensity towards sin and our personal inclinations against us, desiring nothing more than to cast a stain. So how do we live in the world yet remain unstained? Well, for sure, we cannot do it on our own but only through the graces of God. We have confidence as children of God that he who is us is more significant than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We can remain unstained by any temptation we face today by keeping our hearts focused on He who is greater.
God, we give you thanks for Jesus Christ, who has removed the stain of our sins, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. Help us as we care for the many in need; the orphan, widow, homeless, hungry, and the prisoner. We know you are far greater than any evil we might face today. Please help us this day to remain pure, shining our lights as examples for your glory, so others may come to know you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.