James 1:22-24 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus addresses this as well. Jesus calls the man who hears his words and put them into practice wise…and the man who hears the his words and does not put them into practice a fool.
How many times have you experienced someone asking for your wisdom and advice in a situation, received it, and then proceed to do the exact opposite of what you told them? How frustrated were you? Now imagine how God feels when He speaks through His word and yet we do whatever feels best for us at the time. Of course, this is nothing new…otherwise it would not be a part of the book of James. This was happening in the early days of the Church.
I have a friend that when he teaches from the Matthew passage asks the question, “What is the difference between the wise man and the foolish man?” It amazes me how many people’s answers are around the houses built on the sand and on the rock. And there are some great lessons and teachings about building your life and Christianity on the solid rock of the Church or God’s word. But I agree with my friend, the gist of this passage is the wise man heard and put into practice Jesus’ words. The foolish man did not. Yes, it is that simple.
Since it is that simple…why do we have such a hard time listening and doing what the word says? Perhaps busyness and worldliness gets in the way. We get so caught up in routine and our own selfishness that we just use God’s word as a quick pick me up and view the words as wise but never really apply them. Or maybe we try to do God’s job and make the decisions on our own according to the situation. Another possibility would be we just do not read and incorporate the word in our lives enough. Finally, it could be that our culture is so based on our knowledge and a “can do it” attitude that we do not see the word as credible.
The challenge is to hear the word and put it into practice. A friend of mine used to say that we approach scripture from a wrong angle. We tend to read a passage and ask, “What does this mean to me?” The proper approach would be to ask, “What does this mean and how does it apply to me right here and right now?” Therefore, we must change that approach. Another challenge, as I have mentioned in another article, is to be the same person wherever we are in life. In doing so, we must incorporate scripture into our everyday walk. Don’t just memorize, use it, apply it, live scripture. Finally, we really need to do a heart check on ourselves. Am I rebellious? Am I worldly? Am I distracted? These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves around the application of scripture in our lives.
Don’t just read and know the word…live it? Do what it says! 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
1. Have you been guilty of knowing scripture but not living it? In what ways? Be specific.
2. What are some steps you can take to put the word into practice as opposed to merely hearing it?
3. What do you think about the phrase, “What does this mean and how does it apply to me right here and right now?”
4. Spend time this week with a passage that you feel needs to be applied in a better way in your life. Read and memorize the passage. Look for ways it applies to you in this time and this place. Pay attention to what God is speaking through this passage into you.
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