“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!”
James 1: 22
James 1: 22-25
Imagine you are on your way out to an award ceremony where you are one of the recipients. You are going to be on stage, giving an acceptance speech. On the way to the front door you have a quick mirror stop. You notice that the pen you’ve been chewing whilst writing your speech has leaked onto your lips and chin, you realise you haven’t combed your hair and there’s a food stain on your collar. Having seen all of these problems you go out anyway without rectifying them (vs. 23). Wouldn’t happen would it! Yet this is what many of us, God’s children, exactly do. We read God’s Word or hear it at Church, understand it to some degree, then completely forget or ignore it. How many times have you been at Church and heard a passage and sermon on relationships in the Body of Christ. You, along with others have been nodding sagely in agreement then as soon as the service is over, during coffee time, some are found contravening the Lord’s direction. An equally common occurrence has come to be known as the sacred/secular divide. We hear the Lord’s Word on a Sunday but it does not translate into action in our lives during the week.
James has guided us on the importance of listening and hearing, now he points out that once God’s Word is heard there should be resulting action. Failure to act on God’s Word amounts to self-deceit. When we hear we are then meant to do (vs. 22).
There is real motivation for us in this. Yesterday, on Remembrance Sunday, we considered Christ’s example and Call on our lives together with the motivation to respond to and follow Him. The motivation is found in unity with Christ, the comfort of His love and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit (Philippians 2: 1). In today’s passage we find further motivation in following Christ. If, as we listen to and hear His Word, our understanding develops into action we will find freedom and be blessed (vs. 25). God’s Word directs us into the New Life we can find in Jesus Christ which frees us from the tyranny of sin and death. His Word is then full of truth, encouragement, guidance and even warnings. Metaphorically speaking, if life were a road trip, the Bible could be seen as our guide or map. There are signs directing us to places of interest, beauty spots and warnings of danger. On a road trip we could drive passed all these signs to our detriment or we could stop and be blessed. If we hear and obey God’s Word we are truly blessed in all that we do. This obedience isn’t something that is forced upon us but instead it leads to freedom because we are in a relationship in which we flourish; a relationship we were created for.
To Ponder: Do you struggle with doing what you hear in God’s Word? You are not alone. Be encouraged, God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us live as He commands. How might this truth embolden and aid you in your bible study and prayer time so as to act on what you learn?
Pray: Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, help us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your Holy Word, we may embrace and forever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given is in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever. Amen
Praise: Red Letters by David Crowder
Lamp of our feet whereby we trace
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.