In the past few weeks, I have been reading and re-reading a passage in the NT Letter of James. A few months back, a group of men at our church were examining it each Tuesday morning in their weekly time together. I was able to be with them from time to time as they journeyed through the letter. Recently, the Holy Spirit has brought me back to it and has planted me here. I am sure it is for a pinpointed reason.
Let me share a segment right now: “Do what God’s Word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. If someone listens to God’s Word, but doesn’t do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like. However, the person who continues to study God’s perfect teachings that make people free and who remains committed to them will be blessed. People like that don’t merely listen and forget; they actually do what God’s teachings say” (James 1, vv.22-25, GWT).
Surely listening is important. We are told this plainly in Scripture. However, listening is not the only verb (or action) that we are called and commanded to as God’s people. It can get awfully comfortable to sit and listen, and then, to only sit and listen some more. Some simply become knowledge sponges, seeking to take in more and more information. More facts. More studies. More reading. More news. More proof.
But there comes a time when listening must work itself out in doing. Not being a “busy-body.” Not in biting off more than anyone can chew. You see, our faith is not a type of works theology. We don’t get holier or more righteous by doing more. At the same time, we have been equipped with truth and we have the Holy Spirit, so we know that action is a part of our responsibility to God for the world (for His others). This is responsibility God has given us. We are to be doers of the Word as obedient children. So when we see parts of the body only listening, and in effect doing nothing, what does that communicate about our witness to God’s Word and will? We ought to ask ourselves: Are we doers of His Word?
Do we love (yes, that is a verb as well as a noun)? Do we serve? Do we feed, comfort, and speak the truth? Do we seek and share? Do we witness and worship? Do we pray and praise? Are we giving and glorifying? Note: This is just a brief summary and is not all inclusive. Note #2: They are all actions that suggest, doing.
Pray this with me: Loving Heavenly Father, help me to be a doer of Your Word. Allow me to see and live out my faith as a listener and as a doer, that Your Name would be magnified and Your Kingdom would be furthered. Grant me what I will need to press forward doing all that You have commanded in Your holy Word. In Jesus Name. Amen.