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 1:27 ESV)
Unstained from the world? How do we live in the world and yet remain unstained by it? There are two ways I can think of to avoid stains: Avoid contact with the contaminant or have stain protection so if there is contact there will be no damage.
To avoid contact with the contaminant requires separating ourselves from the world. In some areas this may be the best approach. We need to avoid things that will stir our own flesh so we avoid sin. Period. That is just plain wisdom. Remaining unstained by the world includes avoiding personal sin.
Yet, even Jesus spoke of being IN the world, not isolated from the world but living in the world. Jesus prayed to Father, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:15-19 ESV).
We are God’s witnesses (Acts 1:8), ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:14), all of which require proximity.
To be in close proximity with the world yet remain unstained requires stain protection. As Jesus said, our stain protection is truth. As He spoke to Father, He asked that we be sanctified in the truth, the truth of God’s Word. Our best stain protection is the Truth.
To remain unstained from the world we need to be immersed in the Word of God so we can discern our surroundings and have the wisdom to think biblically about them. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:5-6).
Equally important is to be constantly aware that the Truth, Jesus Christ, dwells within us if we are believers. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;… (John 14:6); I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me… (Galatians 2:20).
As we navigate through the world with the Truth hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:9, 11) and the Spirit of God dwelling within, we can remain unstained by the world.
This devotional was taken from America’s Keswick’s “Real Life for Real Victory Volume 3”. If you would like to order a copy of the 365 Devotional book, please call (800) 453-7942.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “Only when awe of God rules your heart will you be able to keep the pleasures of the material world in their proper place.” – Paul David Tripp