Hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to dig back into our study of James.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
This meaning of this verse is pretty clear. Hearing the word of God is just the beginning. We are to internalize it in our hearts and minds and then put it into action in our lives. If we merely hear it read on Sundays at church or read it for ourselves, but the words never take root in our hearts, we deceive ourselves into thinking we are pleasing the Lord.
23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 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.
The verb for look is the Greek verb katanoeo and it means “to observe, consider, contemplate”. “So the man carefully studies his face and becomes thoroughly familiar with his features. This illustrative act is paralleled by the person who listens to the Word, not momentarily but attentively, and at length, so that he understands what he hears. He knows what God expects him to do and any failure to respond cannot be blamed on a lack of understanding.”1 We are held responsible for what we know and are expected to put it into practice in our lives.
It is impossible for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and really study what we look like and to then “immediately forget” what we look like. James is pointing out it is just as absurd for us to read or hear the Word of God and to forget it and not let it change how we think and act. God’s Word is a living word, but we must put it into action to bring it alive in our own lives and the lives of others.
Verse 25 describes the person who puts God’s Word into action and says “he will be blessed in what he does.” Do you want to be blessed in what you do? Then these verses line out what we must do to be blessed. We must read His Word and put it into action in our lives. How often do we attend a church service, a conference or retreat and have an spiritual experience only to return to our every day lives and never put what we learned into practice? Often, we don’t even take time to meditate on what we learned or experienced or even take time to praise God for the teaching and revelation we have received.
When was the last time you took notes or really felt like you heard something or read something new in His Word? What did you do with this knowledge? Did you praise God for it and put it into action? What have you learned from these seven days of studying the book of James and how are you putting it into action? Take some time today to praise God and ask Him how you need to put what you have learned into action. The purpose of this spiritual boot camp is not to simply gain knowledge of God’s Word but to truly internalize it so we can walk it out in our lives and live the lives we were created to live.
Scripture references are from http://www.biblegateway.com
Definition of Greek is from “Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers
- 1 quotes from “Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Zondervan