Get Rid of it
Get Rid of it
Words of Faith 4-17-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James had already spoken beautifully about the blessings of God. When we need wisdom and strength, the Lord provides. When we are going through challenging times of trial, God is good and gives good gifts. But now there is some basic business to settle. It is not for those partly committed or casually interested in the life of the Spirit.
Given the graciousness of God, our response is to separate ourselves from moral filth and evil. This is not about legalism that attempts to earn a self-righteousness. This is about living in holiness that responds to the love of Jesus. Moral filth and evil are incompatible with the Word planted in us. The Word planted or in us cannot grow and transform us properly as long as we compromise with things that work against that Word.
The sort of house cleaning that James suggests prepares us for the reception of the Word. The Greek word translated "get rid of" (apothemenoi) was primarily used to describe taking off garments. The same word is used in Hebrews 12:1 to describe throwing off any excess weight, such as unnecessary clothing, to make one ready for the race of faith. Moral filth and the evil that is so abundant are to be stripped off like dirty clothes in preparation for accepting the word.
The reception of truth must of necessity be marked by humility or meekness. This is not to be construed as spineless weakness. Instead, it is the quality of a strong man that makes him docile and submissive rather than haughty and rebellious. Only in such a spirit can one fully receive God's truth.
That the Word is described as "planted in you" suggests the readers were believers who already possessed the truth. The phrase "which can save you" simply describes the truth as saving truth. James is not calling for initial acceptance of that message, but for a full and intelligent appropriation of the truth as the Christian grows in spiritual understanding.
Is there moral filth in your life? James gives us the only solution: Get rid of it. Cast it aside. Strip it off like a dirty garment. It is not something to toy with. There can be no compromise. We might think we don't have any of the really bad stuff that James is talking about. But do you suppose James is also talking about the movies we watch, the television we view and even the web sites we visit? James says: Get rid of it. All of it.
And what about the more subtle places where the enemy has gained a foothold? The jokes told with certain friends, the inside humor or the latest sitcom innuendo, the late-night comedy, and our tendency to accept more and more? James says: Get rid of it. Why? Because it will eat you alive.
James is clear about “... the evil that is so prevalent..." We often excuse our own evil because of the prevalence of worse evil around us. But God does not grade on a curve. If we slowly tolerate more and more in our own lives because of our culture, we are sinking rather than pulling the world up around us. We become numb to selfishness, self-centeredness, materialism, and self-indulgence in a world that is always a good deal worse that we are. James says: Get rid of it.
Is there something you need to get rid of today? Something you have grown accustomed to? Something you have tolerated too long? The very best day to clean house is... today.
Lord, illumine my house, by the light of Your Holy Spirit. Reveal that which is unacceptable to You even though it may be readily accepted by the world. Give me the courage to get rid of it. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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