Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
~ James 1:21
Self-centered pride and malice toward others must be replaced by a humble acknowledgment of our need for walking in the light of the truths of Scripture. Just as we were brought to a knowledge of God by the word of truth (Jas. 1:18), so there is a present sense in which daily acknowledgment of the implanted word will save us from anger and foolish decisions. However, this will only be true to the extent that we hear and respond to the word.
“But prove yourselves to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (Jas. 1:22). Hearing is, of course, the prerequisite to proper response, because we must know the truth before we can apply it. The problem is that most of us know much more than we live. It is far easier to theorize and postpone the truth than it is to put it into action.
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (Jas. 1:23-24). The Word is like a moral mirror that strips away our outer veneer and shows us what we are really like (see Heb. 4:12-13).
Working through Scripture, the Spirit reveals areas of our lives which need to be changed. When we see these areas and do nothing about them, it is as foolish as a person who looks in a mirror, realizes he has forgotten to put on his pants, and continues to walk out of the house. Revelation is designed to transform, not merely inform, but it cannot accomplish this without our response.
Lord, give me the strength and will and wisdom to allow you to transform me. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. Visit his website at KenBoa.org.