James 1:21 says “wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
From this verse we see some things we are supposed to throw away and some things we are meant to receive.
The verse starts out “wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness”. I like to think of this in a sense of gardening. God is saying to pull out all the weeds and throw them away. The phrase superfluity of naughtiness is the idea of abundant sin. Our hearts today are like an overgrown garden. Towering weeds and life choking thorns keep anything else from growing. Weeds grow quickly to get above any existing plants to steal their sunlight; and once the light has been taken away the original plants will die. Think about all the climbing plants that wrap around a tree and eventually kill it. These plants are good for nothing and only produce death. Sin is exactly the same. When sin gets into your life it will grow quickly and block out everything else. When sin gets into your life it starts to wrap around your soul until death. We have already seen from a previous verse in James (verse 15) that sin brings death. Now the only way to kill a weed is by killing the root. If you kill the plant above ground it will just grow back. Again sin is the same. You can stop the sinful action, but if the desire is still rooted in your heart it will not be long before it sprouts up again.
Imagine a Christian owns this overgrown garden. One day he goes out and fights through the weeds and thorns and plants a little flower seed. The Christian, happy with his effort, then returns inside and waits for the flower to grow, expecting great things to flourish from the seed. The next week, to his surprise, nothing has happened. He goes out a few days later and gives it a little water and again returns inside. After many days of waiting still nothing happens. Very discouraged the Christian forgets about the seed and it never grows.
Can you see my point? The garden is the Christians heart. One day he fights through his sin and decides to read his bible; this is the seed being planted. The Christian, happy with his days reading, goes back into his life expecting great things because he’s got into the word. He waits and he waits and he sees no fruits from his efforts. He decides to get the bible out again and give it another little read, then when he is done he returns into his life; this is the watering. Again he waits to see what will happen but again nothing. Discouraged he gives up on the whole idea and the weeds take over, engulfing the seed that was planted. Trying to receive Gods word with an unprepared heart is as foolish as planting flowers in a hostile garden; it just isn’t going to grow, no matter how much you water it.
Back in the verse God says to lay apart filthiness and abundant sin, He tells us to get our gardening gear out and get rid of those weeds! He doesn’t just want us to get rid of the plant above ground though; He wants us to get rid of it at the root. He wants the same with your life, He doesn’t just want to see you stop sinning; He wants to see you eradicate the root of the problem. Like a gardener, you are to remove the weeds, kill the roots and purge the soil in preparation for good seed. But how do we prepare the soil of our hearts for God’s word?
1. Confess our sins and ask God to forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
2. Meditate on God’s love and grace and asking Him to ‘plough up’ any hardness in our hearts
“…Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” – Jeremiah 4:3
3. Receive the word with meekness
“…and receive with meekness the engrafted word” – James 1:21
Meekness is the opposite of wrath that James 1:19-20 spoke of. Receiving the word with meekness is receiving the word with acceptance, without arguing and honouring it as the Word of God. You do not try to twist it to conform to your view-point; you accept it as it is. The word engrafted is the idea of implanted. Every time you read your bible a seed is planted in your heart. It is then your duty to nurture this seed and to keep it safe and from there it will grow strong. If you receive the seed with meekness you will let it grow how it wants to grow.
How is your spiritual garden today? Is it flourishing with the beauty of God’s word or is it over run and hostile, filled with weeds of sin? When a seed is planted it takes time to grow, but you have to put in the effort to ensure it does. Don’t plant a seed and forget about it; water it by getting into the bible every day. If you notice a weed growing beside it, pull it out and get rid of it. Don’t leave your garden unattended to quickly fill with weeds. Prune your faults. Encourage positive growth. Let your spiritual garden grow fragrant and eye-catching, that others may see your faith and purity and desire for a heart like yours. Do some spiritual gardening today. – Andrew
Posted on September 12, 2012, in Andrew's Thoughts for the Day and tagged Bible, Christian, christian youth, Christianity, Evangelism, Garden, God, Jesus, Lord, Plant, Religion and Spirituality, Seed, Sin, Sowing, Youth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.