“Be encouraged that God’s mercies are new even today to commit yourself to hearing His Word, taking action, and faithfully enduring, for this is where we find freedom and blessing.”
Me: Put your shoes on so we can go.
4-year old: Okay. (*Does ten other things*)
Me: Go put your shoes on, please! We need to go.
4-year old: Okay. (*takes socks off*)
Me: Are your shoes on yet?
(*Child has no shoes on, has four birthdays in the meantime*)
8-year old: Okay. I’m ready now.
As a parent, I expect my children to listen to my words and obey them, which can be exasperating when they are sluggish, willfully disobedient, or distracted by everything around them. Lately, it’s been super exciting to repeatedly instruct my littlest one not to climb onto our fireplace and then watch her go 100mph full-speed toward the bricks.
James 1:22 gives this exhortation to believers: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jewish Christians receiving James’ letter would have recognized the weight given to hearing teaching from God’s Word and putting it into practice: this is the mark of a disciple.
When we listen to the word and don’t do what it says, James says we’re like a person who looks in the mirror and after seeing her face, leaves and immediately forgets what she looks like. How do we do this with God’s Word? We blatantly ignore His teaching on stewarding our finances. We sit through a sermon on evangelism with zero intention to engage unbelievers in gospel conversation. We love Netflix shows with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and amidst all of that, neglect to read our Bible. We know that God wants us to honor Him with our speech, yet we gossip, slander, and judge others. James tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” and still, we end up bulldozing someone because we were slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to anger.
For believers in Christ, sin no longer holds power over us because Jesus bore the penalty on our behalf. We know, however, that we still get entangled and trip over our sin every day. In the process of sanctification, we choose not to be content with being “hearers” only. We want to hear God’s Word, repent in the areas we’ve been apathetic or wayward, and pursue holiness in our obedience.
“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 1:25) Be encouraged that God’s mercies are new even today to commit yourself to hearing His Word, taking action, and faithfully enduring, for this is where we find freedom and blessing.