Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. - James 1:21
James makes about pretty direct statement here about our choices. While we know that we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit when we are saved, and that Spirit guides and directs our behavior, we still ultimately make the choice about what we think about and how we act. We can choose to put away those impure or negative thoughts, we can choose to stop the angry words coming out of our mouths, we can choose to end the silence in a difficult relationship. We do choose our responses to difficult people and difficult circumstances. If we choose to continue in our filthiness or our wickedness, we grieve the Holy Spirit, and we silence its influence in our lives.
A word of caution about filthiness and wickedness - these words seem abhorrent, rarely would any of us describe ourselves as filthy or wicked. Those words seem to be saved for the truly awful person, the unbeliever stuck in some sort of disgusting sin, not something those of us who are striving to grow more like Christ every day. But we must remember, sin is wicked in the eyes of our Lord. Any sin. Proverbs 21:4 tells us: Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. Pride is wicked. Any time we have demanded our own way, grown angry because we did not get our way, think of ourselves as better than another - that’s all wickedness and filthy to God.
So, James instructed us to choose to our put away our filthy and wicked thoughts and deeds, and replace them with the Word. We are to receive the Word with meekness or humility. Meekness is an attitude that receives God’s instruction and dealings with us as good. We trust in His plan and we really wholly on His strength, not on our own. Even when we are dealing with evil people or terrible injustices in our lives, we receive it and trust in God’s protection in those difficult moments. We don’t rise up to fight against it, we accept it as God’s plan for our lives, trusting He is using it to purify us.
Finally, the Word must be implanted in us. Implanted means firmly fixed - we must know His Word better than anything else. To firmly plant His Word in our hearts, we must memorize scripture. It’s hard, and it takes a lot of concentration and effort, but that’s what He calls us to do. When we’re memorizing scripture, we’re not thinking in all those other things we shouldn’t be thinking about. And then when we’ve got it stored, we can recall it at any time - to counsel our own hearts or to counsel others.
This is how we save our souls - we choose to stop thinking on the wrong things, we choose to stop acting on those thoughts, we humbly accept His Word as it is, and we work to store it in our hearts.
Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗
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