Tuesday, September 25, 2012

James 1:21

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. ~ James (1:20)

So get rid of - I wonder if the people reading the letter were getting a bit anxious here.  He just finished telling them to stop talking so much, listen more, and stop being so angry (or self-passionate).  Now he starts by telling them stuff to get rid of.  I can see the rich man getting a bit nervous...

all the filth - Filthiness, dirtiness, trash, garbage.  Those things that leave us spiritually icky (deep words).  The things that dirty up the temple, crowd God out, keep him from taking his rightful place.  Taking time to be Holy (a phrase we heard this weekend and that Pastor Dan Scott wrote about) is, among so many other things, a process of cleaning the temple.  Sweeping, mopping, and clearing out the filth so that God can fill up the cracks and corners.

and evil - God is beauty, perfection, goodness.  Evil is the carnal perversion of that goodness.  It takes what he wanted us to cherish and butchers it with fleshly desires.  The list of what is filth and what is evil is bound to be subjective, but we can be assured that it isn't God. 

in your lives - Not his life.  Not her life.  Your life.  My life.  Take responsibility for your own temple, Brandon.  It's the only one that God will ever give you.

and humbly - Wow.  In a world of pride, to be humble is a cherished state.  James told us what to get rid of.  He's about to give us something we should take, but first he's setting the stage for how we are to receive.  Definitions for 'humble' (via Dictionary.com, emphasis mine):
  1. not proud or arrogant; modest
  2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience
  3. low in rank, importance, status, quality
  4. courteously respectful
accept - There is a gift for us to take.  It is up to us to do the taking.

the word God planted in your hearts - Here's what BlueLetterBible had to say about 'word', since I was curious.   There's a lot of possible definitions, but the essence seemed to be what God says.  Maybe that's encompassed by the Old and New Testament.  Maybe it goes beyond to the thoughts and impressions the Holy Spirit brings on us.  Maybe it simply means God himself, which would be intimated by the next line (for salvation comes through Jesus).  This word, God plants in your hearts.  To me, that signifies active intent.  "For it is not God's will that any should perish"  "For I will draw all men" "For God so loved the world"  God is actively interested in planting his word, his seed, his holiness, his essence, inside your heart, inside your soul.

for it has the power to save your souls - Enough said.  But since I'm blessed with a great verbosity, I'll say more.  As a fallen human, we are depraved, corrupt, and perverted.  We are forever seeking a perfection that can never be attained.  But here James is showing us that Jesus (the word God planted in your heart) can make the proverbial beauty from our ashes. 

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