Fresh off the heels of being a good listener James will challenge us now to apply listening to the Bible. We are to listen to what God’s word says, and one more thing, do it!
Taking a Spiritual Bath – v.21-25
Verse 21 gives us a few things to remove and we will start with filthiness. Everyone knows what filthiness means; James uses the word to measure our inward state. The word is also used in 2 Cor 7:1 in exactly the same way. It is meant to convey a person’s spiritual state when they allow sin on a regular basis. (As mud all over the body makes one filthy so does sin to the inward man) We use the word in the same manner to describe someone as having a “filthy” mind. (Full of evil thoughts) Superfluity, our next word, is not a word we use. It means super abundance. It is combined with the word naughtiness. Naughty is a word we do use and we associate it with doing bad things but the word is more forceful in the Greek text. It expresses a specific desire to break God’s commands. So James says Christians are not to have an abundance of sinful ideas running through their mind. We are not to be ruled by evil thoughts. Notice another word, “all“; we are to do our best to stay pure. Cutting back on sin is not what James says; cut it out is what he is expressing. (“lay apart” to put it away or get rid of it.)
We are to consider God’s word as treasure humbly accepting instruction and fill our minds with its meaning. As we continue in the verses James says it isn’t enough to know God’s word, you have to live it; you have to let God’s word change you.
How many of you know how to lose weight? Knowing how doesn’t cause us to lose weight; following through with a diet is how we lose weight. (Actually diet and the “e” word which I will not utter here.) When the bible says “Lie not one to another” Col 3:9 we can easily conclude God wants us to stop lying. We know this to be true but are we following through with the application of it?
Also, in Exodus 20:15, it says “Thou shalt not steal”. We know it is wrong to steal but knowing it doesn’t matter if we pick up and keep something that doesn’t belong to us.
In our last post we were told to listen more, talk less and control our anger. If we didn’t know that before we know now. Are we doing what God told us to do? Did the last post on James change us? Did we listen more, talk less and control our emotions since the last post? When Satan puts evil thoughts in our head are we saying no internally and putting it out of our mind? Do we say to ourselves “God doesn’t want me to think about these things so I am not going to dwell on it”? We have to say no to the old man nature, to Satan.
We have to make up our mind; we must put forth the effort to be a hearer and a doer of God’s word. We must want God’s word to change us.
As the thought finishes in verse 25 there is a blessing promised to all who will treasure God’s word, read it, and do what it says. The end of verse 25 says… “this man shall be blessed in his deed“.
The Greek dictionary I use had an excellent note attached to the word “deed”. It says this person shall be blessed in accordance to the obedience he renders to the law.
From time to time I hear people say out on the job “I want to get paid what I’m worth”. The implication is the boss doesn’t see everything so they don’t really get paid what they’re worth. We don’t have to worry about that. God sees everything. He knows what we are capable of and what effort we are giving.
Dear readers, it is time we start listening to God when He speaks and stop making excuses for our sin.