Read James 1:21-27.
Okay, here is that time where we see "therefore" and need to ask, What is it "there for?" God has just instructed us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because anger does not lead us into a righteous life. So how do we please God with our life? What are we to do?
First, we make a choice to put off moral filth and evil. You may say, "but I'm not morally filthy or evil." Are you? Have you examined your life lately and matched it up to the standards of God? His Word is our moral compass; His life our example. We will never be able to match it exactly, but are we even close? The enemy of lies is cunning and slick. He leads us into areas of compromise that we would initially say we would never enter. But because we go there inch by inch instead of mile by mile, we don't seem to notice the subtle changes we are allowing into our life until it is too late and we are fully enmeshed in a habit, relationship, or philosophy that is contrary to the Word of God. Take inventory -- how's your house looking?
We should regularly take a hard look at our life and see if we have let any compromise creep in. But the rest of this passage gives us a way to avoid desiring the things of this world. James tells us to live out the Word that has been placed in us. That can have two meanings....Jesus is the Word and the written Word of God. Once we have received Jesus into our hearts, our desire is to live for Him, right? Well, that's the goal. But with the bombardment of the enemy's temptations to indulge self, we must diligently be on our guard against slipping into old habits and desires. Our focus should be on His Word. Learn who Jesus is so you can live as He lived. Study His Word and life. Hide His words in your heart. Then emulate His actions. That's why James says that you cannot merely read the Word, you must live it. Study and sermons are all good, but they are only a means to an end. The goal is to live as Christ lived. That is the truly righteous life that God desires. Put feet to His Word.
- Have you been only studying and not living out His Word? What is He calling you to do? We are to live out the Word in the big things and the little things of our life. Make a list of where you need to do better in living the Word.
- Read James 2:20. (KJV) Search for other passages where we are told that we must live the righteous life beyond just faith. Search "works," "deeds," "actions."