We must be careful to understand what James is saying here. The Revised Standard Version translates the phrases at the beginning of verse 27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled is..." The word that is translated religion is threskeia, and its meaning is not so much religion as worship in the sense of the outward expression of religion in ritual and liturgy and ceremony. What James is saying is, "The finest ritual and the finest liturgy you can offer God is service to the poor and personal purity." To God, real worship did not lie in elaborate vestments or in magnificent music or in a carefully wrought service; real worship lies in the practical service of mankind and in the purity of one's own personal life. It is perfectly possible for a Church congregation to be so taken up with the beauty of its buildings and the splendor of its liturgy that it has neither the time nor the money for practical Christian service, and that is what James is condemning.
In fact, James is condemning only what the prophets had condemned long ago. "God," said the Psalmist, "is a father of the fatherless, and a protector of widows" (Psalm 68:5). It was Micah's complaint that all ritual sacrifices were useless if a man did not do justice and love kindness and walk humbly before God (Micah 6:6-8).
All throughout history, men have tried to make ritual and liturgy a substitute for sacrifice and service. They have made religion splendid within the Church at the expense of neglecting it outside the Church. This is by no means to say that it is wrong to seek to offer the noblest and the most splendid worship within God's house; it is, however, to say that all such worship is empty and idle unless it sends a person out to love God by loving his fellow-men and to walk more purely amid the tempting ways of the world.
It is so important that you make the Bible your conduct guide to what is spiritually acceptable by God.
Dear Father, I realize how I need for You to choose what I do in Church and outside of Church. I want to please You in all I do. Amen!