JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…humbly accept the word planted in you…”
July 16, 2010, 2:14 am
Filed under: F Letter of James

James was writing this letter to those Jewish Christians who had left Jerusalem during the persecution as way of a reminder of the things they struggled together with when living by Jesus life together.

It is generally considered the first letter written to Christians who lived a shared life from house to house and wherever they gathered together. I think he brings reminders to them of the basics of how they did life together with Jesus, e.g. how does living by the flesh look as compared to how does living by Jesus look, the fruit? The letter is an excellent source of wisdom for every ekklesia learning to live by the life of Jesus and the consequences of walking in the flesh (similar to what Paul does in Galatians). So the letter is more outward manifestation of Jesus focused, versus inward focused, such as how Paul wrote to the ekklesias in Galatia, or at least it seems to me.

In the first chapter, James describes areas of listening and speaking within the body of Christ as they gathered in face to face community. So this seems to drive what James says in this section. Verses 19-22 says:

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 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. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

When we meet together it is about listening to the Lord, who indwells His people, and speaking and doing those things the Lord tells us to to the building up of the body of Christ. The phrase “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” is literally “in meekness receive the implanted word (logos) – being able to save your souls.” (1) The word “humility” is better translated “meekness” as it is not the same Greek word used for humility, meaning humbleness of mind. This word “meekness” refers to “an inwrought grace of the soul.” (2) So this phrase seems to indicate the importance of an inward comprehension of Christ, The Word (Logos) of God, implanted within us, who lives in us. And not just an inward comprehension of Christ’s life but also at the same time as a result of Christ’s life. There is also a sense of following the direction of His voice as He directs the gathering of His people. Every person in the body of Christ has the freedom to fully function in the gathering so that all may learn Christ together! We are quick to listen to what the Lord is saying, whether through someone in the gathering or in us by His Spirit. We are slow to speak, in that we do not speak loudly or over someone who is sharing Christ through whatever gifting the Spirit has enabled the members of His body. If we are not in humility listening to our Lord through the members of His body or ourselves then we are focused on ourselves, not considering or respecting the Christ in others, and this tends to cause someone to become fleshly in thought and in deed, to speak over others, judge others, and mishandle truth. This causes anger and bitterness to occur. How important to humbly listen to our Lord!

We hear from the Lord and when we hear something of Him, He directs our sharing in and to and through the body. And because we live in this flesh, although it died when Christ died, we still have to remember to accept that it is dead, to put it away, so that Christ’s life will be manifested in and to and through us. If I hear Christ in me, in us, but do not believe what He says and focus on myself instead of others, if I do not put it to death, and see that it is dead in Christ, then I will not be following Christ’s voice which can save me from the consequences of walking in the flesh. As the NASB says: “But prove yourselves doers of the word (logos), and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word (logos) and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” When Christ speaks I listen and then do what He tells me, even if I am unsure what it is He means. If I do not follow His direction, His guidance, then the body will miss something of the fullness of Christ and vice versa. We will miss opportunities to express love. We will only receive something less than Christ and we will deceive ourselves as a result. We will have forgotten who is our real life. How many times have followers of Jesus, not having put away the old man have misspoken or misled someone or themselves because of not first listening to the Lord and doing what He says, bringing undue consequences on themselves and others.

“But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty (freedom), and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” (NASB) When we hear Christ in us we are called to follow what He says and what He always expresses is love, “the royal law found in scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” As Paul would say, when we are living by the Spirit, Christ in us, the fruit of love will always be expressed, not the works of the flesh. May we hear from Jesus Christ, believe Him, and follow Him, and by so doing we will learn Christ and express Him together!

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 673, 675.
(2) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 314, 401.


4 Comments so far
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John, I enjoyed your post. It can be difficult at times to distinguish which voice in our head is His. Sometimes He gives us a difficult task, and we don’t want to accept that it comes from Him. At other times, we take our own thoughts and attribute them to Him. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that it is much easier to identify His voice as I seek to live in His presence.

Comment by Peter

I a right with you brother! You are right, and why it is so important to gather with His body, to see the fullness of Christ. I guess that is the part of learning Christ from His body when we gather together under His headship. We know that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He desires to have His peace rule in our hearts as we share Christ together in love. I think it is more of a spiritual sense of hearing that still small voice in our sharing together, that gives a peace beyond understanding, at least that is my experience and how I read Scripture. I think that is why it is so important to learn to accept the death of our natural self and seeing ourselves alive with Christ within the body of Christ, we learn to hear His voice as others share how they are learning Christ. I am still learning to hear Him!

Comment by John Wilson

I must say, this note blessed me this morning. What stood out me the most is the section that said
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
I had a friend who was exposed last week to my husband & I. She had been going around telling people that my husband beat me, which is not true…I was so angry with her that I told my husband what she said, which made him angry because he feel like she may have destroyed his reputation. I wanted to confront her but my husband & I decided not too. We want to handle this matter as mature as possible considering we attend the same church. I am still angry about it but I am asking the Lord to keep me…I have to except the call of God that is in me…I have to maintain self control. Thank you so much.

Comment by Keianna

how important it is to live by His life. When we come together in face to face community the masks come off and when they do we may not like what we see. How important it is to live by His forgiving life: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Comment by John Wilson

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