“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
There are many people who read through this verse so quickly that they misinterpret what it says. They think it says: “anyone who helps out orphans and widows has true religion.” But that is not what it says at all. It says that you must help out orphans and widows and keep yourself unspotted from the world.
You see, if you give 10% of your money to the poor but then go out and live a life of sin, your religiosity is fake. You are simply adding a few good deeds on top of your sins in order to bribe God into accepting your immoral life style. Doing some good in addition to sinning does not make you a good person! Even some gangs and mafia groups give money to charity. But it doesn’t change the fact that they are responsible for rape, human-trafficking, and murder.
If you want true religion you must obey the entire verse above, not just half of it. You must get rid of the worldliness in your life: lying, drunkenness, slander, cheating. You must love God and others at all times. You must change.
I know this may sound difficult to do. It is. You can’t change yourself. But God can change you through His power, no matter how wicked you are, if you believe in His Son and repent of your sins.
So please, be changed. Stop adding fake religion on top of your sins. Rather, ask God to get rid of your sins where they take root in your very heart.