“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” – James 1:22-23
The only way for us to excommunicate wickedness from our lives (soul and life are both used to translate the Greek word psuche) is to receive the implanted Word of God. The only way this happens is by listening to God.
When a child hears a correction from a parent and then turns around to repeat the bad behavior, what is the parent’s response? “Did you hear what I said?!” We show that we have truly listened by doing. The word implanted leads to behavior change. Behavior change saves our lives from the destruction that accompanies sin. If we are not acting rightly, we have not listened rightly.
This James passage makes it clear that our wickedness problem doesn’t come from outside, it’s already within us. If we want truth and righteousness instead, then we must listen.
Listening isn’t easy. We can nod at all the familiar words. Or glaze over our Scripture reading as in a monotonous routine. It can readily flow in one ear and out the other. True perspective only comes from listening to what is true. The benefits of truth come with a change in our perspective. That requires real intentionality.
God wants the best for us. He wants us to be fulfilled. But He leaves us to choose. True relationship only blossoms when there is freedom. When we choose to truly listen to what God has to say, allowing the word to implant within us, we are on a path to having our lives fulfilled.