James 1:21 – “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
When I was in elementary school I was fascinated with the punt, pass, and kick competitions that the NFL hosted. The idea was to see how far a child under the age of 12 could punt a football, throw a football, and kick a football. The record is 317 feet which is almost the entire length of a football field including the end zones. That is a long way, but the participant could still go and retrieve the ball. It wasn’t thrown and kicked so far that it was un retrievable. The word for “put away” that is used in James 1:21 is a word that means to put something so far away that we can’t retrieve it.
James then is telling his readers to take their sinfulness and moral uncleanness and throw it away so far that they cannot retrieve it. That’s impossible isn’t it? No matter how far we can throw something aside or how far we can cast something off we can retrieve it again. We do this a lot of times with our worry, we may put it aside for a little while but then we pick it up and begin to wring our hands again. We do the same thing with sin. We may decide I’m going to change, I’m not going to participate in that any more. I’m going to cast that aside. We might even do it at New Year’s when we make a New Year’s resolution. Soon however we have went right back to the thing that we did before. We cannot throw our sinfulness away far enough. We may cast it off but it’s always close enough for us to pick it back up.
James says thrown it so far away that you can’t pick it back up, but that is impossible. The Bible says that many things are impossible with man, but “all things are possible with God.” We cannot do it but God can. We cannot rid ourselves of our sins and our sinful attitudes. We cannot change our moral depravity, but God can. He can throw our sins so far away that we cannot reach them again. So what do we do? We need to quit saying I’m going to change and starting saying with humility and meekness, “God change me.” We pray for His strength and we live for His glory!