Although we don’t like to admit it, we all occasionally run into dead end places in our lives where we don’t know what to say, what to do, where to turn, or even how to pray. Sometimes it seems like we’ve hit a dead end. In other words, it seems like everything is finished, over, and done with! If you’ve ever been in a place like this, you know what a hard place this can be!
I remember coming to a dead end when we were in the midst of one of our building programs. What the building inspector was demanding was going to cost us about a $100,000 more than we budgeted to spend. Sometimes when you come to a dead end, it seems like you can’t go forward but turning around is not an option either. One of the worst things that we can do in a dead end situation is to become a bone on your own and try to figure your own way out. I chose to reveal it to congregation and encouraged them to pray for a breakthrough in the situation. The end results was that God made a way out of no way. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. If He did that for me He will do it for you. God has a purpose for dead ends in our lives. It doesn’t always mean the end but it sometimes marks the beginning of a new season if we will persevere and not take defeat as an option.
Through these kinds of experiences, you and I discover that in our own strength, we are no match for some of life’s problems. That’s why we must learn to depend on the power and wisdom of God! The apostle Paul tell us that he, too, went through this kind of learning experience when he found himself face-to-face with life-threatening situations in his own ministry. In 2 Corinthians 1:9, he says, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Paul was definitely at one of those dead end places that we’re talking about. In fact, the situation he faces was so bad that he compared it to a sentence of death.
But in spite of how it looked, Paul didn’t die, nor did he fail at fulfilling the job God had given him. It may have looked like it was the end of the road, but it was really the beginning of a new supernatural flow of divine power into Paul’s life. That’s why he went on to say that through it all, he learned not to trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead.
When you don’t know what else to do and when you have no one else to turn to, that’s usually when God’s resurrection power begins to operate in you to the greatest measure! You see, there’s no such thing as no hope. If you learn to rely on him, that dead end place in your life that you’re facing right now can become a new beginning!
Today. I want to go a little further into James 1:21. I want you to particularly look at the words “Filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.” Since James tells us that we must remove and discard from our lives whatever is meant by these two concepts, it is imperative that we understand exactly what he is talking about.
The Greek word for “filthiness” describes filth that is obnoxiously filthy. The man pictured in James 2:2 is described in this same way. In this verse, James described two categories of people who attended the Early Church—those who were nice in appearance and those who were filthy dirty. About these categories, James wrote, “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, and in goodly apparel, then there come also a man in vile raiment.”
That word vile at the end of this verse and the word filthiness in James 1:21 come from the same Greek word. James 2:2 portrays a man whose body and clothes are so encrusted with filth that he emits a disgusting odor to everyone nearby. Have you ever been around a person who smelled that badly?
This is the same Greek word James uses in James 1:21 when he describes believers who have bad attitudes! In other words, when a believer is being pessimistic, downbeat, negative, uncooperative, gloomy, cynical, or indifferent, it just stinks to God. Nothing stinks worse than an attitude of a grumpy and pessimistic person. In fact, a person with a bad attitude emits such a distasteful aroma that it will literally drive people away from him! This person has to make the decision to “lay apart all filthiness”—which in this case is not referring to dirty clothes, but the stinking and repulsive attitude he carries in his life.
You need to take your own temperature and see where you stand.
James 1:21 could be interpreted to mean: “You must make the choice to remove those filthy, stinking garments from your life. To permanently lay them down and then deliberately push them out of your range forever…” Are you struggling with a sin today? Does a wrong attitude keep you trying to conquer your life? If so, you must begin to look at that sin or wrong attitude like an old set of filthy clothes that isn’t fit for you to wear anymore. They are tired, worn out, don’t fit right, or just out of style. Someone could look at them and know that they need to be thrown out. Make a decision to step out of every destructive area of your life that has held you captive. Once you make that decision, the Holy Spirit will give you power to carry it out and never look back!
When James says to “lay apart” all filthiness from our lives, he is telling us to first acknowledge what is wrong and then to take appropriate measures to remove those areas from our lives. If you are going to get free and stay free, it won’t happen by accident. You must start taking steps to remove those negative things from your life—to lay then down and push them so far away that you’ll never be able to reach them again!
Begin to confess these words: ‘Every area of my life that needs to change, I want the Word of God to reveal it to me. Rather than act like a victim that cannot do anything about myself or my circumstances I declare that today I will start the process of acknowledging my sin and removing those attitudes, actions, and sins that are unworthy of who God has called me to be. Not only can I be free, I will be free. I will be all that God intended for me to be!’ Keep these thoughts in the forefront of your mind and ask God for the manifestation as throw those filthy things out and walk it out.
The Right Way To Deal With Wrong Attitudes...James 1:21...I'm sure that you have read or may have heard me over a period of time when I have said that your attitude in life determines your altitude in life. Things that happen to us in the course of life have the potential to leave us with a bitter taste in our mouth. Today, I want to draw your attention to the words "lay aside" in this scripture. These words are taken from two Greek words. The first means 'away' and the second word means 'to place or to lay something down'. When these two words are compounded together they give a picture of someone who is laying something down at the same time that he or she is pushing it away from them. So this compound word means to lay something down and to push it away far beyond reach.
Last week, we took part of our Singles' ministry to a summit in VA Beach. While we were there we ate at a seafood buffet. When you are eating a buffet meal it is easy to sinfully indulge in eating too much. So an example of this word would be to suddenly realize what you are doing and instead of diving into extra crab legs you choose instead to not go back to the buffet table and then deliberately push away from yourself that which you have left lest you should overindulge one too many times. This is the idea that James uses when he tells us to lay apart all filthiness from our lives. There are attitudes in our lives that we already know are not right, but it is up to us to lay them aside and push them away. You have to learn how to do that if you are going to succeed in life.
In New Testament times, the words 'lay apart' were frequently used to describe someone taking off their dirty clothes at the end of the day. How do you deal with your dirty clothes? Do you take them off and put them away in a clothes' hamper? The book of James uses this illustration to explain how you must deal with wrong attitudes and actions in your life. If you have the wrong attitudes you are going to do the wrong things. Just as you wouldn't go to bed in dirty clothes at night, neither should you go to bed with the wrong attitudes.
The Bible tells us to be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down on your wrath. What that means is that we must quickly deal with anger because anger will most definitely produce a wrong attitude. You have got to deal with these bad attitudes like you would deal with an old set of dirty clothes. It is also important to realize that dirty clothes just don't fall off and you definitely don't want to sleep in them. To get them off you have got to push buttons through buttonholes, unzip zippers, and slip the clothes off your arms and legs one piece at a time. Dirty clothes don't automatically come off just because they are dirty. They will only come off if you do something purposeful to remove them.
This is exactly what James had in mind when he tells us to lay apart all the filthiness of our lives. He is telling us to first acknowledge what is wrong and then to take appropriate measures to quickly remove any areas of weakness. If you are going to get free and stay free, it won't happen by accident. You must start taking steps to remove those negative things from your life; to lay them down and push then so far away that you will never be able to reach them again. Are you struggling with anger, jealousy, envy, or some issue that is producing negative attitudes in your life today? Does a wrong attitude keep trying to derail your life? If so, you must begin to take notice of this issue or attitude like an old set of clothes that aren't worthy for you to wear anymore. Make the decision to step out of every destructive area of your life that has held you captive. I believe that once you make that decision Holy Spirit will give you the power to carry it out.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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