There is something very powerful about the concept of being born-again. Regenerated. A new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.
For a sinner like you and me, this is glorious news. It’s hope at it’s finest. It’s an invitation for redemption and relationship.
James 1:21 tells us that we must “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The implanted word?
Just a few verses earlier, in verse 18, James reveals how God, “of His own will…brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.”
The implanted word is the word of truth…Scripture…the Living Word…Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3). By Him and through the Word, God makes us new…brings us into the newness of life as one of His own children.
That very word is implanted within us, a seed of the spirit of God sown deep within us, growing and bursting forth into a new life.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…if anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religious is useless. 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.”
You know that Word implanted within you? It’s easy to listen/read/hear it. It’s easy to know it and nod our heads along with it and feel like because we’re always listening to it, we’re somehow doing it by process of osmosis.
But James tells us that if we do that…simply hear the Word and leave it at that…we are deceiving ourselves.
There is a way that humankind defines being “religious” and there is a way that God defines truly being “religious.” We can know which standard of “religion” we live by according to these three things…
- What we say.
- How we treat those who are voiceless and facing injustice.
- Where we invest our time, money, and energy.
Do you and I truly live according to the implanted Word within us in the way we speak about our neighbors…our co-workers…those in the ministry…our presidential candidates?
If we were to record everything we say out loud for one day, and then sit down and transcribe our own words (never mind recording the thoughts we have that we don’t even say out loud!), I think we may all find that our inner selves are a bit uglier than we had imagined.
Do you and I truly live according to the implanted Word within us in the way we treat those who are left unprotected, the ones who have faced continual injustice, the ones who no longer have a voice because it’s been broken of its own dignity?
James doesn’t say to give all your money to those in need. He simply describes pure and undefiled religion before God as visiting orphans and widows in their trouble. Visit them…speak with them…give where you can…but truly look into their eyes and hear them and be moved to act accordingly.
Do you and I truly live according to the implanted Word within us in the way we prioritize our lives and in how we use our time, money, and energy?
Especially when it comes to free time and extra money beyond our monthly budget and needs…where does all that surplus go? In many ways, if we can track where our “extras” go within the month, we can begin to see where our hearts have landed in their priorities. Are we investing in things that are sowing into eternity?
I think that’s why James states so plainly that we need to receive the implanted Word within us with meekness. With control and with a posture of humility, we admit that we cannot truly “do” according to the implanted Word within us. By our strength we may be able to hear, but it’s going to take another power and conviction within us to move us into the realm of actually living by what we know to be Truth.
There is something very powerful about the concept of the implanted Word living within us. It’s a gift He has given us to guide us into growing up into maturity. No longer are we simply born-again into a new life, but we have access to the One who helps us to live as a new creation.
This is what He died for and this is what we were made for. To live in His likeness. It’s the most glorious calling we each have as believers. So in true meekness, let’s together live in a way that reflects pure and undefiled religion in a world so hungry for something pure and undefiled.