In order to really be able to hear God's word as we should, we must eliminate everything that would hinder us--especially sin. Notice how James describes sin: filthiness and wickedness. God hates sin; it is so repulsive and disgusting to Him. We should lay it aside (or throw it away) like it is a filthy rag!
The Greek word that James used here for filthiness is rather interesting. When used in the medical field it literally means wax in the ear. At first that might sound strange, but think about it. If you have wax filling your ear, then you won't be able to hear! And, if you can't hear, then you won't be able to receive God's instructions for you. We must lay aside the spiritual wax--the filthiness of sin--so we can hear God clearly and properly receive His word!
In order to be saved by the implanted word, we must: (1) receive the word and (2) do so with meekness. In the Scriptures, the word of God is often compared to seed that is sown (e.g., Luke 8:11). The word is a seed that must be planted into spiritual soil; that is, the human heart. Now, whether or not the seed will be successfully implanted depends primarily upon one thing--the type of soil into which it is planted. If the soil is hard, then the seed won't be implanted successfully. If the soil is very shallow with bedrock underneath, then the implanted seed won't be able to develop roots. If the soil is full of other vegetation, then the implanted seed will eventually be choked out by the competing plants. The seed must be planted in good soil in order to sprout, grow to maturity, and produce fruit. The same is true spiritually. A heart that is hard will never receive the word to start with. It immediately rejects God's truth. A heart that is shallow will not receive the word with meekness but instead with emotionalism and a lack of true, lasting commitment. A heart that is full of other priorities will not receive the word with meekness but will instead push God and His word away from being the top priority in life. A heart that is good will receive the word humbly and in a submissive, controlled manner (cf. Matt. 13).
Are you following the flow of James' thought here? He is saying that as Christians we must accept and show approval of God's word with a yielding and receptive attitude, as opposed to receiving God's word in wrath. When God's word rebukes us, we should accept it calmly and openly. We need to be teachable people, people who will receive spiritual instruction without resentment and without anger. We need to be able to face the truth even when it hurts or condemns our actions. We should not close our ears up or get angry.
God has the right to tell us what to do and when to do it. It's our job to listen! We need to have a proper attitude toward His word. We need to respect it greatly and cherish it. It is from God Almighty! It is the most divine tangible thing that we have on earth! And, when we respond to it with a good attitude--an attitude that receives the word meekly--it will save our souls! This verse reminds me of Psalm 119:11 - "Your word I have hidden [implanted] in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
Friends, how clean are your ears spiritually? Do you receive God's word meekly, allowing it to have free course in your life? You must if you hope to be saved!