What is it exactly in our lives that draws people to want to know our LORD? Why would they want to be like us?
25 Do not let your heart turn to her [temptation’s] ways or stray into her paths.
The problem is that we have all “turned to her ways and strayed into her paths.” For me, the big question is, “How do I avoid temptation from now on?” The answer to this question is found in chapter 9, verse 15, “…calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way…” Jesus said to “enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” Matthew 7:13-14.
This narrow road we are on runs parallel with the broad road, but we are going the other way. Somehow, people on the broad road and we on the narrow road cross paths (it’s a spiritual thing) and God gives those people the opportunity to see and decide to join Him on the narrow road. For us, it’s more about how we live than what we say. The Spirit is quite capable and, indeed, necessary to bring conviction in those people’s lives. For us, James 1:19-21 gives us a clear picture of day-to-day living.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 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.
The first part of this verse is speaking to those who are part of God’s family and are interested in producing righteousness in their lives. James gives us some very good wisdom. I have heard it said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we talk. Point taken.
It’s the next part that hits us where we live. There are three assumptions:
- There is moral filth and evil in our lives;
- That we want to get rid of that moral filth and “the evil that is so prevalent;”
- That the word is planted in us.
We spend our whole lives rooting out ungodliness in our lives. But, lest we think that God is ever unhappy with us because of our filthiness and failures, let us remember these truths:
- We have the righteousness of Christ. HE HAS ALREADY MADE US RIGHTEOUS (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- His joy overflows in our lives because HE is joyful in our lives. It’s what living water is all about (John 4:14 and John 7:38).
- Our heavenly Father uses the trials in our lives to teach us and to grow us. It’s all about the relationship.
- When He is ready, He will instantly glorify us, so we don’t have to worry about not ever reaching any certain point of godliness (1 Corinthians 15:53).
So, let us get rid of all moral filth and prevalent evil by humbly accepting the word that has been–and is being–planted in us. The question is, how hard are we working at it? Is reading a chapter of Proverbs a day doing it for us? Should we be reading more? How about aligning ourselves with Him in prayer? Are our prayers perfunctory or do we crave His Presence and Participation in our lives? Maybe we need to venture outside the norm and “up our game” according to my pastor, Bryan. Let’s be more about the Father’s business and less about our own.
Abba, this world looks dark right now, but I know that You have everything well in hand. I also know that our lights shine brighter when the world is darker. Please draw Your people into close relation to You and teach us to shine brightly for the world to see, especially to those around us. We love You and trust You, and Your love drives out our fear of disease, political turmoil, loss of security, and even death. Thank You for so great AND COMPLETE a salvation. Amen.