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)

Ever take a second to notice the flags displayed by churches? I know I never did until my dad began pointing them out to me. What you will often see is the U.S. Flag above the Christian Flag. I don't think that the church actually thinks about the message that it is sending out with this seemingly minor placement of flags on a pole, but to me it screams out that the church identifies as Americans first and Christians second. You don't need to look at the flags outside the church to see that this is true though. All you need to do is think back to the last time a Christian shared the Gospel with you, or the last time you shared the Gospel with someone. How passionate was the conversation? Was there a sense of urgency for a decision to be made? Now imagine the last time you talked to someone about the upcoming presidential election. How passionate was the conversation? Was there a sense of urgency for a decision to be made?

The possibility of electing the "wrong" president terrifies Christians more than the thought of their family, friends, and neighbors making it to the end of their life without hearing about the forgiveness offered to them through Jesus Christ. Listen to the rhetoric and you will see the truth in this. We can't elect Bernie because he is a Socialist and he will destroy America. We can't elect Trump because he would be one bad hair day away from nuking the world. Are Christians placing their faith in God or in the kingdoms of men? When pastors feel the need to endorse candidates and encourage their congregations to vote it sends a clear message, at least to me, that God must not be in control of elections. How often do we actually think about the messages that our words and actions are actually sending?

I hope that as you read this, you can start evaluating what you are placing your faith in. Is it being placed in God and in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross? Or, is it being placed in the political systems of men? If you find, like I did, that your religion is far from pure and undefiled before God, then I hope, like me, you can begin losing your religion in exchange for the type of religion that James describes.