St. James challenges us to a new path – free from evil excess:
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. -James 1:21, NAB
We seem to allow a certain amount of filth and excess in our lives, as if a small amount of sin is acceptable. We question how much a small amount of excess can do. Society embraces it; why can’t we?
St. James makes it clear that a life of excess can be evil. It leads us to sin and draws us away from God. The only way to combat this evil is to give up all filth and excess completely and to humbly accept Christ.
Of course, this is not easy. When the rest of the world embraces excess, and even strives for it, how can we remain humble enough to live a life rooted in the love of Christ? How do we overcome the temptations brought on by our desires?
By battling against every bit of desire for excess in our lives. No amount of sin is allowable. The smallest temptations can quickly overcome us and lead us to a pit of despair. It may start out relatively harmless but quickly snowballs out of control. We must pull out excess from our lives at its roots.
A life of excess is a life focused on one’s own needs and desires. It is self-centered. Our only course of action, then, is to give up the pursuit of self, become self-sacrificing, Christ-centered, and in humility, allow the Word of God into our hearts.
No amount of sin is acceptable. Stop hiding behind the fragileness of your spirit. Through Christ, we can eliminate sin from our lives by humbly putting Him in control.