I recently saw an ad for a brand of clothing geared toward youth. It consists of blue jeans and all the accessories designed to go with them. There is nothing novel about that. What got my attention, however, was the name of this clothing line. It is called “True Religion.” That caused me to stop and think. Why was that name chosen? Am I missing some deeper significance? What is the connection between a brand of jeans and true religion? What do they mean by it? My musings left me with questions for which I had no answers.
I am thankful that the book of James is clear when describing true religion or true faith: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (1:27). That is refreshing. “True religion”—genuine faith—is an expression of how we relate to our God. One evidence of our new identity in Christ is the way we care for one another—reaching to the most frail and vulnerable among us, to those most in need of help.
True religion is not a garment to be taken on and off. It is a lofty challenge about how we live before a holy God and others.
You don’t advertise your religion by wearing a label — you do it by living a life.