“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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 1:22-25]
Just Do It.
James, Jesus’ brother, uses a child-friendly simile to explain the importance of being doers of the Word, and not just hearers. He makes it easy to understand how critical is it for believers to not only know the scriptures, but also live them. James tells us to “do what it [the Bible] says.” He communicates Jesus’ heart towards the Word, saying that reading or hearing scriptures is sufficient. We’re called to act upon our knowledge of the Word.
Imagine looking in a mirror and then not remembering anything you saw. You would have no knowledge of your physical features. That would be really strange. I can’t help but compare this image to those videos that we see of dogs barking at themselves in mirrors because they aren’t aware that it’s a reflection. James warns us of the deceit that comes with not doing the thing we know to do. Believers can easily pride themselves in knowing a lot about what they Bible says, but Jesus would really prefer that we actually apply the Word to our lives.
There’s a parable in the Bible, called the Parable of the Sower, found in the Gospels. In the parable, Jesus talks about a seed that could fall on four different soils. Matthew 13:18-23 explains how a seed has the opportunity to flourish and produce a crop if it falls on good soil. Jesus is encouraging his followers plant their seeds in good soil: to read the Word, receive it, make every effort to understand it, and then apply it. A person that knows the Word and truly understands the weight of its impact will want to go the extra measure to act on it, to just do it.
This passage isn’t about striving to always do, do, do. It’s about knowing and experiencing the freedom that comes with doing the work of the Lord. God loves to advance His kingdom WITH us. He wants us to hear truth and speak truth, to receive love and give love.
In Luke 8:21, Jesus says “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Jesus is talking about more than just His mother and brothers, though. He’s referring to His family, a family that comes together to love their Father.
Let’s study the Word like we study for our tests. Let’s apply the Word like we take our tests.
“...they will be blessed in what they do.” That sounds quite nice.
God, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for giving me Your Word so that I can follow You better. Give me courage and boldness to act on the things that I read in the Bible. Bless me with a confidence of Your goodness and faithfulness. I ask that you give me opportunities to do what I know to do. Help me to be not just a hearer of Your Word, but also a doer of Your Word. In Jesus name, Amen.