James 1:21b KJV
21 and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Once we have done all we can to rid ourselves of the hurtful attributes of the first half of this verse (filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness), it is time to fill that part of our lives with something more Godlike, more righteous. This is a true principle with anything we rid ourselves of when learning to follow Christ. As we put aside various areas of our lives, it leaves a void in that area, and we must start to fill it with something God provides. If we were filled with anger before coming, we can fill it with joy once we are saved. If we had bad language, we can fill the void with praise and prayer. The list goes on and on. If we do not fill that void, it is easier for us to fall back into our old ways.
James admonishes us to now receive with meekness the engrafted word. I love the way James words this. First, we must receive this with meekness. A lot of people get confused with the word meekness. They equate it with weakness, and nothing could be further from the truth. Meekness is defined as an attitude of humble, submissive and expectant trust in God, and a loving, patient and gentle attitude towards others in one bible dictionary. I really like that definition.
First we must receive with humility. I don’t know more than God. I will not object or complain to what He is trying to teach me. I will listen and not try to use my own knowledge to try and figure out what He is saying. I will allow the Holy Spirit to teach me what God is saying in His word. Then I will go about making that a part of my life.
Second, we must receive in submission. We need to submit to His words, and not try to reason our way out of being obedient. We need to incorporate what He is saying into our lives without reservation or question. We must recognize His authority to teach us, guide us, and mold us into His image.
Third, we must receive with an expectant trust in God. We must not doubt that what He is saying is for our good. We need to be ready for God to move in our lives and help us learn more about the Kingdom. We must trust that whatever we go through in this life is in His hands, and He will help us through.
All of this should result in that loving, patient and gentle attitude toward others. Imagine what impression you will make on others if they see this kind of change in your life! All of those you come in contact with will wonder what has happened, and you can start to plant seeds into their lives about the saving grace Jesus offers. Hallelujah!
What is it that we receive with meekness? James calls it the engrafted word. Again, I love this metaphor! The word engrafted signifies this word has been grafted into your life. When a branch is grafted into a tree, the branch starts to receive life from the tree. This is the point that James is trying to make
Jesus painted the same picture in John 15. He is the vine, we are the branches. We must not only be a part of the vine, but we are expected it be fruitful. (We will talk about the necessity of works in the believer later in these lessons). Jesus tells us if we are not fruit bearing branches, the Father (who is the husbandman of the vineyard) will take it away. If we are bearing fruit, we will be pruned (trials and tests will come) so that we will bear more fruit. It is essential that we stay connected to Him, for through Him we have life. Apart from Him, we wither away.
What a beautiful picture this is of our relationship with Christ and how He comes in and saves our souls. When we are saved, we are grafted to Him, and the life giving Spirit starts to reveal the word to us. When we receive it with meekness, we grow in Christ and in His ways. Even though I have been saved for 40 years, I still need to receive the word with meekness. This truth James brings out never changes.
I pray this blesses you as much as it does me. I can get prideful about the years of bible study and meditation I have done. I can get to a point where I think I know it all very easily. A while ago a wise man told me that when I read the word, I always need to approach it like I am reading it for the first time, and then I need to accept what it says like a child would accept their father’s words. When I do this, I realize how little I really know, and how much I have yet to learn.
May God bless you with the ability to become that child again when you read the word, and receive the word with meekness, ready to be grafted into the vine.