In the mind of James, Christians that seek to live righteous lives can only do so by imitating and reflecting the character of God. As you seek to imitate the righteousness of God, there are changes that begin to happen your life, in James’ words:
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 decision to walk the righteous life is not an inactive reception of God’s grace and mercy, rather it is an active activity in pursuing truth, the word planted in you, and acting upon it. What is this word planted in you? At one level, it is the truth of the gospel, at another level, it is each individual’s destiny written upon their hearts by God.
Again, the decision to live the righteous life means action. James begins with the removal of the darkness that prevades this world, a rejection of worldly social standards: a rejection of immorality, materialism, selfishness, and the list goes on. Just stop and look at the world we, now, live in. The newspapers, news and current affairs TV programs, the Internet…they are just full of reports of how far humanity has fallen. The call, in these words of James, goes out to remove ourselves from the sphere of dark influence. As light fills a room, darkness disappears; likewise, if righteousness fills our lives, the darkness must also disappear.
Now, we come back to this word planted in you. This word is the light that should fill our hearts. Yet, unless this word is whole-heartedly and humbly accepted, it cannot make a difference. This word is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of the kingdom of God – that is, all people are reconciled to God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, freed from the chains of sin, and saved from the bonds of the Evil one (Satan). When you accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross of Calvary, you are given authority and power to break away from the chains of darkness. Let me echo the words of James, accept this word planted in you that you can be saved.
Yet, the journey only begins with the acceptance of the gospel message. I said earlier that the decision to walk this life is not inactive, but active, hence, also saying, the word planted in you is also the destiny which God has written upon your heart. For each person, it is different, but this I can say for all of us, it begins with trust and obedience. Simply accepting the gospel message isn’t enough, the gospel message doesn’t make us perfect, it allows for the potential to achieve perfection on the final day. It is the beginning of the journey of chasing with our entire being the goal of perfection, made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ.
The journey is long and you must make the commitment to walk its path, each and every day, hour after hour, to pursue righteousness, to reflect the character of God, to imitate the person of Jesus Christ. This word planted in you means nothing without action. James summed it up in these words:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.