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Just a Little Dirt

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20 NLT

I have had this verse memorized for longer than I can remember. I need its reminder far more than I would like to admit. In a resent read through James I asked God to give me fresh eyes on the passage. As I read quickly through this all to familiar verse I was surprised to find the perfect recipe for success in the words directly after.

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

James 1:21‭-‬22 NLT

How many times have I focused so intently on the previous verse, pining over how in the world I would ever prove self control when it comes to my emotions? Often feel so overwhelmed by yet another failure. While focused on what I lack I had completely missed what God was providing for me. A step by step process that has already been proven true in my life when I have put it into practice.

Getting rid of all the filth and evil in our lives seems like something we did on the day of salvation. Not something we would necessarily ever need to revisit right? Wrong. If we only cleaned our house the day we moved in, can you imagine how dirty they would be with filthy build up from life? Our spiritual lives are much the same. Our hearts in need of constant maintenance.

The good news is we are not alone in the cleaning process. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us and help us. But, from personal experience, I know its all to easy to quiet the cries for cleaning under the rug the same way I often turn down the volume on the Holy Spirit when he nudges me towards change. God has often tugged at my heart to surrender a book, tv show, friendship or type of music, cautioning me that its influence did not produce in me the righteous life we both desire. I want to ignore these moments of truth. I want to keep going down my path and having fun. But, just like the dust in my house, the rotten words coming from a dirty heart, start to become glaringly evident. It's obvious there needs to be a change in my surroundings and what I am feeding myself, if I want to have the self control needed to exemplify Christ.

It's not just enough for me to hear the word of God, it demands for a different way of living then the world around me, I also have to act on that. I have to be willing to humbly surrender my desires for his. And sometimes that means I'll be changing the radio station or my favorite, seemigly innocen, tv show. James says that God has planted his words in our hearts and I believe those words are often unique to each person. So even if something seems right to someone else, it doesn't mean it's right for me and I want to be obedient to Christ even when it doesn't make sense.

I am so thankful that the truths in this passage can be found over and over again throughout scripture. Often those verses we memorize and bring up in a moment of trouble, have so much hope packed around them. Guides for a life time of wisdom and integrity. God promises that when we seek him we will find him. When we come with hearts open and ready to hear from him he will speak. Let's be quick to listen to him and slow to speak out rebuttal. He is the author of all truth. His do not's can be read, do not hurt yourself.* He forever looks on us with love and compassion, gifting us just the right tools we need for each phase of life. Even cleaning.

*Lysa Terkeurst Trustworthy

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