James 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
Don't you find it far easier to study the Bible than to live it? An excellent Bible study or sermon that addresses the stranglehold of jealousy can be enlightening and be challenging for both heart and mind. A quiet time that deals with the issue of anger can be riveting as you read Scripture that reminds you to not sin in your anger.
But, once the Bible is closed, the sermon is over, or the class is completed...now, the real work begins. Will we do what we have learned?
My experience in my life as well as what I have observed in others tells me that people love to learn but hate to change. We enjoy gathering information and feel blessed to gain greater biblical understanding. When it comes to putting feet to the truths we learn, however, the struggle is much more significant.
The New Testament reminds us that while hearing the Word of God is a good thing, it should never be the only thing. We are called to be doers of the Word. In other words, we are to learn and then we are to live.
Our quiet time is not complete just because we have read the Scripture for the day or finished the assigned reading. Our worship in church is not ended only because the benediction has been given. In a very real sense, our quiet time, Bible study, and listening is just the beginning point of our worship. All of these things should work through our hearts and minds until they are lived out in our actions and words.
Douglas Moo sums up James 1:22 this way, "However important may be mental assent to the word, it has not been truly received until it is put into practice." The way we know we truly believe the Word of God is that we do what it says.
If we listen to the Word of God only (and do not obey it), the Scripture says that we are "deceiving ourselves." We become deceived because we believe we have pleased the Lord when in reality, we have not. Just learning more information -- if not accompanied by faith-filled obedience -- only adds to our sin.
So today, make it a matter or prayer and priority to not only read the Bible but to check your life to ensure you are living the Bible. In the end, we do not want to be people who merely speak of obedience, patience, grace, and mercy. We want our lives to exemplify the very things we have read and affirmed.
Take time to thank the Lord today for the gift of the Bible. Then, take time to ask for the Spirit's help in applying all that you take in. We want to be obedient, not deceived. To do so, we must be a doer and not a hearer only.
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