But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 NLT
The Pharisees living during Jesus’ life knew God’s word, but they didn’t do what it said. Unfortunately, they were fooling themselves.
Is it possible to go to Sunday school every Sunday, sing in the choir, and attend yearly mission trips but not “do what God’s word says?
Is it possible to deceive ourselves?
We can listen to God’s word on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday bible study- and think we’re good.
But we could be fooling ourselves?
The bible clearly and strongly states in the original language that doesn’t quite translate the same intensity into English- “You must do what it says!” A doer of the word is a person who actually applies it to their life everyday like a habit.
What if a doctor were to tell you not to drink soda, to swallow 3 pills twice a day, and to exercise 15 minutes every day…..or you would die. Would you do it?
If the doctor told us our life depended on a behavior change, many…(I know not all people would change their behavior). But the majority of people wouldn’t just listen to the doctor, go home, and ignore what they said. Many people would faithfully swallow those pills, park way out to increase their steps, and gulp tea instead of soda.
It wouldn’t be easy to change at first, but we would do it. If our life depended on it, we would change our ways.
Our “eternal life” does depend on whether we “do what God’s word says.” We just don’t consider it a matter of life or death. We think we have more time or we think we’ve got it covered. But do we?
When we hear God’s word it often reveals spots in our character.
- But do we allow God to wash those areas?
- Do we apply God’s word to help us overcome the areas that we are struggling with?
Consider C. H. Spurgeon’s example: “What would you say of a cook who prepared dinners for other people and yet died of starvation?”
Are we merely studying the life of Christ or are we actually following Christ?
If we hear God, but don’t obey…we have an empty devotion like a loveless marriage. This may explain why God hears, but doesn’t answer. We may deceive ourselves, but we can’t deceive God. He knows our heart, mind, and soul.
Or maybe you are like me and when we listen to sermons, other people come to mind instead of our own sin. We need to ask God to reveal what we have hidden from ourselves. Our temptations, our weaknesses… we don’t want to remember or think about our careless acts of disobedience.
Or maybe we hear and decide to actually make a change. But then we leave the parking lot, and forget all about it. We tuck those notes in our purse, but we never apply it to our lives.
S. Cox in his sermon, Hearing and Doing. says it is impossible to forget if you “do God’s word.” He says it is always on your mind as you attempt to apply it, because it usually has perplexities. I think what he means by perplexities is our wrestling between our own desires and God’s will.
Listening to God’s word will not earn us heaven. Talking about God’s word with everyone you encounter will not earn us heaven. And this is the tricky part, Doing God’s word doesn’t earn us heaven either. We can’t earn heaven.
Only Jesus’ sacrifice of his blood covers our sins so that we can be accepted as righteous. Heaven is a gift for those who follow Jesus, who do God’s word.
Doing God’s word also keeps us from deceiving ourselves. When we obey God’s word we are blessed with peace and comfort in our heart. Not necessarily peace and comfort in our circumstances, because everyday brings trouble. But peace in our soul. God is always with us and will see us through difficult situations.
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:23-24 NLT
I don’t know about you, but I do not like looking in the mirror. I see my frizzy hair, brown age spots, and more wrinkles than I care to see. But if I never looked in the mirror, I wouldn’t know that I need to brush my hair, buy Vitamin C serum, or wear sunscreen. If we never look into the mirror we don’t know the natural state of our appearance.
The same is true for our soul, if we don’t read God’s word we don’t know our true condition. God’s word reveals imperfections that we need to deal with.
If you glanced at your face in the mirror and saw an unusual colored mole that suddenly appeared, would you just quickly glance at it? Walk away and forget about it?
No, the serious and wise person would stoop down and look much more closely. When we discover something that needs healing, we run to Christ.
But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:25 NLT
When Jesus heals us spiritually or physically, our heart bursts pure joy. You are blessed if you come to Christ, believe in him, and He forgives all of your sin.
You are blessed if you know your eternal home is heaven. If you visit God’s throne, open your heart, and talk to Him about your deepest hurts; you are blessed. A child of God can claim the promises of God the Father. And He always keeps His promises.
May I pray for You?
Heavenly Father, you are a God of action. You spoke the earth, stars, and universe into existence. You sent your Son Jesus to earth to save us. You resurrected Him and sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us about Jesus. Thank you Lord for all that you have “done” for me. I ask you to help me “do” your word. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
VIEW DOING THE WORD BY SUSAN HECK
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