Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.James 1:21
We are continuing in James on the theme of FAITH. Where does faith come from? Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. That is where the implanted or engrafted Word comes from. First we must hear and then secondly we must choose to receive the Word of God into the good ground of our hearts. As we plant the seed in our hearts, or rather allow God to plant His seed in our hearts, it begins to grow as it is nurtured and watered by God with our assistance. We must be willing before there can be growth of FAITH in our hearts. The work of faith begins with God, who gives a Word that is worthy of Faith because His Word is Truth. This trustworthy Word inspires us to put faith in what God has said. God is not a man that He should lie. Satan is the father of lies, not God. So we trust God as innocently as a young child believes every word that his father says. Unless we receive the kingdom of God as little children, we shall not enter therein. Children trust. We are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
To be implanted in us, the Word of God must take deep root so that we can grow into mighty trees that bear much fruit. It is the mature trees that bear fruit. The novice trees have no fruit to speak of. It takes time for the Word of God to grow in our lives. There is no shortcut to this. Keep on sowing the Word of God into your heart. Keep watering it with the Spirit of God. Cooperate with God as the wise master farmer that He is. He is confident in His Seed, the Word and in us as His fertile field. He knows the harvest is coming where there will be multiplied fruit for the church and the world to enjoy.
The seed of God’s Word produces trees which bear fruit at maturity. This fruit is of the Holy Spirit. This fruit is meant to reproduce more trees and more fruit, for the SEED of the fruit is present in the fruit. When people see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it helps to plant the seed of God’s Word into their hearts, which will then multiply into more trees bearing more fruit, which will in turn inspire faith in more people! How quickly the engrafted Word can do its work if we will be but willing vessels. It is critical that we allow the seed to grow and not to uproot it through choosing to willfully sin against God. Sin plants a different kind of tree that bears BAD FRUIT. We want the good fruit of God’s Word, so stay far away from the bad influence of sin through doing good in Jesus Christ’s name!
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.James 1:22
Faith works by love, according to God. Faith produces works of love. Love does all it can to promote the highest good of God and people. It will stop at nothing until love is realized. This is why faith cannot just say “I believe” and then do nothing. No, we prove our faith is genuine by doing works of faith which are works of love. This is not the works of obligation that the law produces. These are works of love, which Christ produces. Christ’s example of self sacrifice motivates us to follow Him and imitate His good works. Truly faith is allowing God to move in us and through us by His Spirit. It is love for God and others that encourages us to have more FAITH that we might in turn have more LOVE and so forth. As love increases, so does faith increase. As love increases, so does works of faith increase. Our stars shine brighter and brighter as faith and love accomplish the works of God in our hearts. This is the fruit that God is after: good works motivated by love.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.James 1:25
Faith requires us to look very carefully and cautiously into the Word of God. It is as if we are gazing into a mirror, which reveals every detail of our spiritual being. The Word of God is perfect and it reveals every blemish in our hearts and minds. It takes much thought and meditation in the Word of God for the blemishes and imperfections to rise to the surface where they can be seen. Cooperate with God and His Holy Spirit as you allow the work of God to continually wash you and separate you from all manner of sin. Yes, even the deep sin. All sin must go if we are to be worthy of Jesus Christ in the day of judgment.
Faith requires continuance. Jesus Christ said “if you continue in my Word, then are you my disciples indeed”. Because faith is a growth process, it is implicit that it takes time and continual effort for the fruit to be manifest in our lives. Faith is like a tree growing or running a race. Both require time and effort to produce the rewards of heavenly fruit or a heavenly crown. We must overcome sin and temptation to sin. We must resist unto blood, striving against sin. Keep yourself pure from other men’s sins, says the Word. Run the race with patience and endurance. This implies a learning process. We don’t instantly have victory over sin in every area of our lives. It takes time to learn how to say no to temptation in every area. God, being the master builder, understands this and so longsuffers with us until we become what we are created to be: spiritually perfect and mature in love. Love is a learning process which takes years to gain traction in, to grow into a deep love and not just a superficial one. We need to be patient with ourselves and love ourselves. We don’t excuse sin, but IF WE SIN, we confess it and repent and move on in holiness. Don’t let one sin derail your whole life. Learn how to cast down every thought that competes with Christ for your heart. We are continually being transformed into the holy image of Christ. Keep working at it, my brothers and sisters, for it is God at work inside of you by His Son and by His Spirit that will produce the mature fruit God is looking for.
Faith produces liberty or freedom. Faith produces holiness. Holiness is freedom from all sin. Jesus Christ said, “he that commits sin is the servant of sin”. Sin is bondage but love and obedience is freedom. Which one are you walking in today? You can sin and be in bondage and then repent and be in love, but you can’t choose two masters at the same time. When we sin, satan is our father. When we love, God is our Father. Now is the appointed time to come out of the world, be separate, and minister love to God and others. You can do it! It is possible when you give your whole heart to God! Let no temporary sin stop you from an eternal inheritance of love in Christ Jesus! This liberty is called glorious! All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If sin be the opposite of glory, then faith and love must manifest the glory of God in your life! We can walk as Christ walked, hallelujah.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.James 1:27
Pure religion is pure faith. Pure religion comes out of a pure faith which comes from a pure Word. It is the implanted Word of God that bears pure fruit in our lives. It is that pure water of the Word, that nourishes every part of the tree with what the tree needs to bear fruit. What a mystery this is! If a natural tree growing and bearing fruit is a mystery, how much more the spiritual trees and the spiritual fruit. This pure faith of Christ in our lives helps us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith in Christ!