Flush It (James 1:21)

Wc, Toilet, Purely, Public Toilet, Bathroom
Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
-James 1:21

I heard a toilet flush, when I woke up, while we were all still in bed; and this verse came to my mind.

The verse actually says take it off or undress yourself.  Some ways it has been translated are:

  • Putting away.
  • Lay apart.
  • So strip yourselves.
  • Away then with.
  • Put out of your life.
  • Throw away.
"Ridding yourself" is a common way that this verse is translated.  There's a saying, "good riddance", which means, "glad they or it is gone".

What is sad or odd is when we, as Christians, never say, "good riddance!", to moral filth.  We even redefine morality and never get rid of true immorality in our lives.
The filthiness in view seems to be all kinds of unclean behavior that lies outside the will of God, including anger and wrath. The “remains of wickedness” are those evil habits of life we carry over from the unredeemed world (cf. Ps. 17:4; Luke 6:45). The believer should accept submissively what God has revealed and should respond cooperatively to what He commands. The Word of God will then have good soil in which to grow, and it will yield an abundant harvest of righteous conduct in the believer.
-Thomas Constable

We need to take off, rid ourselves of, and flush the toilet on moral filth.  The meaning is something dirty, that soils you; it is sordid, vulgar, and vile.

James Barclay points out that the word here used for filthiness is connected to the idea of wax in the ears.  He writes, "is it possible that James is telling his readers to get rid of everything which would stop their ears to the true word of God... A man's sins can make a man deaf to God."

This is about preparing yourself to receive the word of God.  Light and dark can not coexist.  If a believer holds onto darkness, won't get rid of it, they simply can not receive the word.  The word will not save you, give you life, if you don't rid yourselves of moral filth.

Christians pray for safety who refuse to pray for purity, because they don't see impurity as dangerous. (George Stulac, James; p. 71)