James admonishes his readers to put feet to their faith. Be “doers” of the word and not “hearers” only.
Faith in Jesus got me here but that is not the end of my journey. It is only the beginning. Now we begin to show evidence outwardly of an inward change. James tells us where to begin. “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (verse 21).
All filthiness and rampant wickedness. To me this refers to the obvious sins we were doing before meeting Jesus and asking Him to be Lord of our lives. The things we KNEW to be wrong but did them anyway. The things we know will break God’s heart if we continue to act that way.
YES. There is more that God wants to do in our lives beyond the surface but we have to start somewhere. By walking away from the obvious sins we also give testimony to the true change God has made in you. No outward change means no real inward change. I won’t say this change is immediate and drastic every time, but it is essential.
James tells us a little later on some of the acts a person of faith should be engaging in. Visit orphans and widows in their affliction, bridle the tongue, and keep oneself unstained from the world. The BEST part about this is that we don’t have to do it on our own! Because we have asked Jesus to be Lord of our lives, He provides the power for these changes. His Holy Spirit lives within us and makes the changes possible.
The same way we couldn’t do what was necessary for our salvation we also can’t do what is necessary for our perfection. The Holy Spirit works in us as we allow Him to. He won’t force us to do the work but He will enable us and move our hearts to make the shift that results in changed actions. If we didn’t honestly open our hearts to Him He has no power to work in us.
The other thing that makes the change possible is deepening our relationship with Jesus through His word. Digging into God’s word and applying it to our lives is the mark of a true relationship. We can’t just say we are “saved” or “Christians” and then go merrily on our way without finding out more about Him. We need to see what His example looks like. Feel how He interacted with His followers. Listen to His parables. Touch His hands and feet. Smell the sweet aroma of dinner at His table. Be immersed in His story.
Just like any other relationship, if you don’t spend time together it withers and dies. I know, some people say, “We are friends for life, even if we hardly talk.” I call foul on that one. I will call you acquaintances and even very fond of one another but true friendship needs to be kept fresh. You need to check in with one another on a regular basis. How do you even know your friend is hurting if you never talk? Spend time with Him. He wants to know EVERYTHING about you and wants you to know the same about Himself!
Father God, thank You that I don’t have to make the changes in my life on my own. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit works in and through me to make these changes possible. I want to have feet to my faith at all times. I know the tongue is the toughest part. I certainly struggle with it.
Help me Lord Jesus to be more like You every day. Help me take on the character of my BEST friend. Grow our relationship to the point that when others see me, they see You. Let me be lenses for them to look through that presents a clear vision of You on the other side of it. Let Your Holy Spirit be the power in my lenses. Refine me until there is nothing distorting those lenses too. Godly glasses. Fine-tuned by His Hands.