But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For 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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But 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.
James 1:22-25 ESV
In this passage, James is talking to Christians about the Bible – not only the importance of reading the BIble, but interacting with it and letting it change us from the inside out. He tells the reader not to just be a hearer, but a doer. James means not to just read the Bible and leave it at that, but to live out what it is saying. If we don’t let the words we are reading change us, it’s pointless – like staring at ourselves in a mirror only to forget what we look like moments after walking away. We can’t only see and know the Bible when it is sitting in front of us, we have to integrate it into our lives and let the truths and lessons that we read become part of who we are.
This matters to us because we have the living, breathing word of God – a book that has the power to change us and teach us and transform us – at our fingertips. In the world we live in, the word is everywhere – it’s on our phones, on the prints and paintings we hang in our houses, even tattooed on our bodies. Because of this, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how powerful the words in the Bible are, but they aren’t just words on a page. They are words from God that have the capability of changing our entire lives, if we let them.
Engage with the word! Make reading the bible more personal. When you read a verse or a passage, ask how it could apply to your life or what truth it is conveying. It’s okay to sit with one verse or passage for a long time if you need to. Figure out how you like to study the bible (it looks different for everyone) and go with it. Don’t limit reading the word to what you see everyone else around you doing or what you’ve thought was the “right way”. Just go for it!
God, thank you that we have your word at our fingertips. Help me to understand and experience that the Bible is living, breathing, and active. Show me your truths in the word. When I see them, show me how to live them out. Teach me to be not just a hearer, but a doer. Amen.
- Sarah T