Read: James 1:21 NRSV
Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
Meek. Submissive. Obedient. The American and Christian doctrines are most at odds with these character traits. Christ calls us to submit ourselves to him, to obey his word, and even says that the meek will inherit the earth. It is not our nature as Americans to be any of those things. In fact, we often mock those qualities as cowardly, naive, or the internet’s favorite word: beta. Think of all our American heroes. They were men and women who went out and achieved incredible rewards of wealth, power, status, or accomplishment without asking for permission.
When we imagine ourselves to be free-willed and independent, we always picture ourselves as being champions of truth, justice, (and the American way!), but the outfit of individualism is so comfortable and flattering that we find it hard to take off. Maybe we really did act with justice when we chose to assert our own will, but our will is fallen and prone to wickedness. Maybe a six-year-old child did a really good job honking the horn of the car. That doesn’t mean they should be allowed to drive. Instead, James tells us to clear out the weeds of our own selfishness and ambition, and receive the nourishing seeds of God’s word instead. His will is perfect and demands our meekness.