Be a Doer
As believers, our lives can and should be marked by minds that are trained in and subjected to the truth of God’s word, and we should surround our circumstances with prayer (Philippians 4:6-8). But still, if we are to know and enjoy God’s power at work within us, we must take what we hear in the Scriptures and put it into practice. We should be diligent in our attention to the Scriptures each day, and in our attendance when the word of God is being expounded, but we should never fall into the trap of thinking that attending, paying attention, and listening carefully are enough. We must be “doers … and not hearers only.”
In John 13, on the night before Jesus’ death and after He has been teaching the disciples for a while, He says to them regarding His lessons, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17). If you wonder why you’re not experiencing God’s blessing, it may be because you aren’t putting His words into practice. The Lord has given us rich instruction and He has given us the Spirit to be our Helper. Now we are responsible for drilling our minds in the truth of God’s word and then doing what we have learned, received, and heard.
What a great sadness it is when churches become like dusty old libraries, filled with so many lives that are like volumes of truth just sitting there, never used. The temptation as we become increasingly aware of the truth is just to sit and think about it without ever taking action. James puts that kind of life in stark terms: it is to deceive yourself. No—a church is to be a gallery of living experience. There ought to be a vibrancy about believers, so that when we face the world’s many problems—problems we ourselves are not immune to—we can see them for what they are and respond by holding out the truth of God’s word as we ourselves live it out.
Determine today not to be a hearer only, and so deceive yourself into thinking you are a growing Christian when in fact you are a shriveling one. Resolve to be a doer of the word. Look honestly over your life now and identify any areas about which you have heard how to live for Christ but have never actually obeyed. That will be the part of your life about which the Spirit is saying to you right now, Do not be a hearer only. Be a doer—for that way blessing lies.
Hearing and Doing the Word
19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
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