James 1:22-25 NIV
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:22-25 – Message
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! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
Thinking you hear what God is saying is not enough. One can listen with their ears but miss the truth completely because they don’t take what they are hearing and apply it to their lives personally. This type of behaviour actually sets one up for deception. To have the Word transform your life, you must do what it is saying. Failure to apply the truths of God’s word to your life makes you like the person who takes a quick peek in the mirror but does nothing with what he sees. Actually, he doesn’t even remember what he sees a few minutes later. For example, the word can reveal an area of disobedience in your life and you walk away from the word and act like that isn’t really going on. However, the guy who is intentional in his study of the word, and intentional in making this word personal and effective in his own life. The guy who lets this Word go deep and change him. The guy who values the truth found in this Word, and allows the light to be shed upon the dark places of his heart, and then does something about it. This is the guy who will remembers what he sees, and obeys, resulting in a blessed life.
May I be a doer as well as a hearer of the Word. May I be intentional in letting His Word reveal the hidden places in my heart. May I never settle for just hearing, or listening, but to be someone who acts upon truth and is forever changed.
How can I apply this? Be intentional. As I read the Word, I need to stop and ask God for ways to live this word in ways as He intended. Refuse to be someone who is hearer only. It is a living word and can be lived out in my life.
Sue says:January 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm
It’s obedience that matters, not just lip service. God is looking for those who will put His Word into action in their life.
It is as if you see your reflection in what God is saying. You see the blemishes, scars and lines that need healing. But, getting distracted, you just as quickly turn and walk away forgetting where you need to apply that healing, transforming lotion.
But if you would stay and let His word soak in, administering liberty … if you are faithful and obedient … you will know the blessing of His joy.
Intentional is an excellent word to apply to this passage. He is talking about obedience and obedience has to be intentional. It also requires thought and time. I sometimes find it so easy to get distracted and walk away from reading the Word too soon. He isn’t finished yet and it is as if I get up and leave with my Father looking on feeling disappointed because He had so much to share. He is also feeling disappointed because He was so looking forward to seeing me work out in my life what He was trying to teach me.
My prayer is that I would be more willing to take the time to meditate on His Word. To be deliberate in taking in all that He has for me and just as deliberate in working out all that He has for me … no matter the cost.
Susan Craig says:January 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm
This verse is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, when it comes to our Christianity. It is also the point that non-christians make when they see and discuss the “people who go to church” and call us hippocrites. Hippocracy is saying one thing,and doing the opposite. There is no better judge of this than those who watch us and are influenced by the fact that our actions do not match up with our words/ beliefs. The saying that we are the only Bible read by those who never open the book to read it on their own,is unfortunately true. How conscious are we, that others are watching us all the time and their view of God(and even themselves in relationship to God) is influenced profoundly by what they see in us?? We are held to a much higher standard because of What we say we believe and Who it is that we say we believe in. We are human and we are not Jesus, so we do make mistakes and fail at times in our daily Christian walk. What can we do to correct this perception that non-christians have of us?? Do we continue to go around with a holier than thou attitude when it is obvious to ourselves and everyone around us that we are sinners in need of grace and mercy too?? I think the honest /real thing to do, is to admit that we are not perfect. When we do fail to live up to our calling, point others to Jesus, who is the only perfect human that ever walked this planet. Admitting our failings and weaknesses puts us on a level playing field with every other human being we come in contact with-we really are no better than anyone else and should not be giving people the impression that we ‘think’ we are better than them. Instead, being real in our christian walk, is to admit we are sinners that fall short of the glory of God. We all sinners and we all need a Savior! Pointing others to Jesus, who loves us and willingly gave His life for us so we could be forgiven and brought into a right standing before God, is essential. If we could save ourselves, we never would have needed HIm to come and die for us !! Acknowledging the need for forgiveness and the guidance of His Spirit to help us be strong and carry on after we fall down, is also being real!! It is my prayer that everyday, as I go through my day, that my walk will line up more and more with my talk. That I will be quick to recognize when I don’t do it right, humble myself and admit it, apologize and ask God/others for forgiveness, and ask for His strength to continue my daily walk in a way that is honoring to Him. The virtues of honesty and integrity can never be assumed – they must be lived and be evident for all to see.
Karen says:January 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm
This passage instructs Karen to HEAR the word. It instructs Karen to take a long deliberate LOOK at herself. But the hearing and looking must call me to ACTION or else it is all in vain, a waste of time, unproductive, and fool-hardy. And each time I repeat an action I secure it in my memory.
Hear. Look. Act. Repeat.
Eventually it will take hold and become a normal part of my daily routine. Happy Day!!!
Pat McRae says:January 28, 2014 at 11:26 pm
OK, Pat, you need to be a doer of My Word, hearing it is not enough and if you think hearing is enough you are deceived. Hearing and not doing is like looking in a mirror, seeing chocolate on your check but deciding it is a beauty mark. You look into a mirror to make sure all is as it should be and if not to fix it. And that is why I am telling you to do what you hear. My Words are life to all who will receive them and when you hear and receive you will have the liberty to continue to do what you have heard and received. I will bless your doing, all your doing.
For me these verses just cement what God has been saying to me for the last few days readings. Have I really heard: go everywhere with Good News; receive trials with joy for they will give me a closer relationship; be slow to speak and get angry and quick to listen really listen. Or has it gone in one ear and out the other? Have I really seen the reflection of Jesus in the mirror of my daily walk or just self-centered Pat?
Oh I love the blessing statement but am I willing to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer?
Lord open my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to me. Open my heart to receive the Word of correction, encouragement and direction and then let the Word flow through me allowing me to be a doer. I thank You for all the blessings that have come my way because of Your grace and mercy. Thank You Lord that this portion of scripture says when I am a doer of Your Word my doing will be blessed. I pray my doing touches others so they are the recipients of these blessings.
I love you Lord and thank You for all You are doing in me to perfect me, complete me and leave me wanting for no good thing. To You be all the glory, praise and adoration.