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.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I need God's Word like I need breakfast (and a great cup of coffee) in the morning. I can't have a good day without taking time to refill and recharge my mind and spirit. I really need to hear from God and see what His plans for my day are. I'm really good at making my own schedule and plans, but I'm finding the days that I really seek God and ask Him to show me what He has purposed for me each day He gives me really neat insights and I actually get more excited about the day. We can get so bogged down in the nitty gritty of cleaning our house, dressing/feeding our kids, going food shopping that we forget to be joyful and excited each day for what God has planned for us!
Here is how God spoke to me as I read these verses in James. Right away in verse 21 it says, "get rid of" that is an action phrase...what can I lay aside, get rid of, let go of today...what filthiness and wickedness is in my own heart and life...lust? gossip? materialism? pride? whatever it is James tells us GET RID OF IT! And the next action phrase is, " and accept the word planted in you." So get rid of the filth and accept the truth that God has implanted in your heart and soul. Which means, we should actually be reading the truth, right? On a regular basis, right?
verse 22 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, BUT DO what it says." So basically just reading the Bible isn't enough because we are to LIVE out our faith! Actions should spring from our listening of the word. Read the Bible...YES...and the next step is to APPLY it to your life, and LIVE the way it tells you to live. Just reading it isn't enough because anyone can just read it or know the truth that is in it. It takes a step of faith to live out it's truth. "Be doers of the word, not hearers only!"
Guess what verse 26 talks about??? OUR TONGUES! I told you our words and our mouths are a hot topic in the Bible!!! Taming the tongue and using self control with our words is so beyond us that we really need God's power to help us in this area. We need to ask God to bridle our tongues, or else, they will get us into a LOT of trouble and heart ache.
I loved verse 27 "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." God has a tender spot for orphans and widows, those who cannot help their circumstances and desperately need aid and assistance. People who are hurting matter to God, do they matter to you? When was the last time you cooked a meal for someone who needed it, or lent a hand for someone who could never repay you or might not even be able to thank you, when was the last time you did something for someone else in secret so noone but Jesus knew? Many times we do good things for all the wrong reasons.
God is challenging us here by saying we are to be unspotted from the world, we are to be different, we are to do good simply because God is good to us, not for praise or honor, although God will bless us, but our motive should simply be to bless others because God blesses us.
I'll leave you with a quote, "The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God." Pascal
Psalm 96:9 "Worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives."