The half-brother of our Lord wrote what is often considered the most practical book of the New Testament. The five chapters of James are filled with teachings that are needed in the day-to-day walk of Christian living.
One of the more well-known passages in that book is James 1:22, where we are told in a straightforward manner:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (ESV)
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! (MSG)
I dare say that nearly 100% of those who would take the time to read this blog know that verse, and most of us have it committed to memory.
But James 1:22 steps on my toes far more often than I’d like to admit. Here’s why.
I like to learn. I read a lot, mostly books dealing with the Bible and Christian living. I listen to a number of podcasts, and most of them are educational. Many of them are religious in nature and help me understand and make application of God’s Word. I read Christian blogs and websites on a daily basis, gaining from the insights of others. Regularly, we attend some great lectureships and other programs that help us learn more about what God would have us to do.
While you may not do all of these, likely you do at least some of them. (After all, you are reading a Christian blog!)
But do we do what we learn?
It is one thing to quote the Great Commission, go to a Bible class on personal work, and even attend a seminar that encourages teaching others. It’s another thing to actually speak to someone about eternity and salvation.
It is one thing to know that “God loves a cheerful giver,” read books by V.P. Black and others, and put “giving” at the top of our budget. It is another thing to really be sacrificial and cheerful.
It is one thing to gain insight into being a godly spouse from podcasts, books, and seminars. It is quite another to actually treat my spouse the way I should.
It was a few years ago when I first heard my dad talk about this problem. We were talking about how many opportunities to learn and grow were popping up, seemingly constantly. We do not begrudge these things in the least. We learn and grow from them on a regular basis, and love the opportunity to do so.
However, dad said something along these lines: “The Church may be putting together so many programs to avoid actually doing the work.”
That’s insight, and it is James 1:22 applied in a modern setting.
You can attend all the “right” lectures and read all the right books. You can quote from wonderful leaders and even be in all the best Facebook groups. You are hearing the truth, no doubt.
But don’t fail to do what you have heard!
Today, what lesson that you’ve heard recently do you need to apply and actually do? Don’t let James 1:22 step on your toes; instead, let it motivate you to be that faithful doer of the work!
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