Taking Out The Garbage
Updated: Apr 1
James 1:21 says, “21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (NKJV). This verse is easy to blow past in your daily reading of Scripture. But, a closer look reveals a much deeper warning. This sentence shows that it is reasonable to assume that we all (Christians) are carrying an abundance of filthiness and wickedness. In Christian circles, we talk about sin, but rarely are we specific. Sin is that bad thing that other people do, but unless we are specific we might think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Let’s take a look at Galatians 5:19-21a, “19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” (NKJV).
Paul laid out a pretty specific list here to the church of Galatia. But, even with this list in the “modern” language of the NKJV it may not stick as something that controls us personally. The Message translation is more of a commentary to me than a translation of the Bible, but in this case it might be helpful. Galatians 5:19-21 identifies the short list of sins as, “repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.” (Message). Ouch!
Now, that hits a little closer to home. The Message also adds some unique perspective to James 1:21a, “So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.” Sin is the garbage in your life. Sin is the garbage that clouds your heart and mind. Anything that you love more than you love God and anything that you think or do that doesn’t honor God, is garbage! God is the God of the universe Who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving and all-holy. As a believer in Jesus Christ, we have invited this God into our hearts to live and nothing in our hearts and minds is hidden from Him.
When I realize this, I feel like Isaiah when he saw God, Isaiah 6:5 says, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah thought he would die on the spot because he saw God and he was a sinful man. How much more should we hate and fight against the sin within us because the God of Creation lives in our hearts?
Once we take out the garbage, we can truly receive all of the Word of God into our hearts and minds so that we may be fully transformed by the renewing of our minds into the image of Christ. When we receive the Word of God, we must first take out the garbage of pride. There is no way any of us deserve God’s Word or God’s salvation, yet here we are. We must humble ourselves so that we may receive this great gift of salvation. This one-time event of salvation leads us to a lifetime of humility. This humility is magnified every time we take out the trash of sin. When the garbage piles up and stinks so bad, just take it to the curb. Clean and scrub your hearts with the disinfectant of the Word of God with a humble heart. Our goal is to be a little more holy today than we were yesterday and to be working to be a little more holy tomorrow.
Love and Blessings to all of you on this week of Thanksgiving,