As we read James 1 it seemed that every verse was pregnant with a message for the twenty-first century. It is a chapter to be read slowly, getting its full flavour and appreciating the way the principles for living, are in great need today. The full context of the words in our heading is – “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (verse 21).
Let’s meditate on our attitude on receiving God’s word! Is it implanted within us? We reflect that most provocative statement in verses 2-4, “Count it all joy … when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing”. Lacking nothing? That must mean lacking no facet of character that will help us to come closer to being a replica of Christ!
To receive tests and trials with joy requires spiritual vision and Paul is the ultimate example of one who did. When we are twenty God counts us as mature and responsible (Numbers 32:11). However, growing up before God is a lifelong journey through the wilderness of this world to demonstrate our steadfastness. God knows that we need situations which test the genuineness of our faith. Only through these will our spiritual growth be complete. We are all different and God recognises this and selects different characters to fit them into different parts of His spiritual temple (Ephesians 2:21) so that His temple is “complete, lacking nothing”. Those who truly grow will have the strength to brush aside all the filthiness and rampant wickedness that surrounds them – and more than that, will have a character that receives the word of God and implants that word into their minds. They will not be a “hearer who forgets” but “a doer who acts” and “will be blessed in his (or her) doing” (verses 22-25) and will succeed in their efforts “to keep oneself unstained from the world”.