James 1:22 (ESV) -- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
“Do you believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead?”
“Then you’re a Christian.”
This sort of reasoning has pervaded American Christianity for the last few centuries. “Easy believism” tells people that affirmation of the tenets and truth claims of Christianity equals being a Christian. But that Bible never says such a thing.
Our passage today hits on this issue. James is writing to Jewish Christians whose default belief was thinking that their birthright as children of Abraham, affirmation of the Torah, and circumcision secured their covenant place with God. James warns them, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
The emphasis James is stressing is that Christians must not be people who merely hear and agree with God’s Word. We must do it. We must obey it. It is easy for people to say they affirm the teachings of the Bible, but the real question is whether they follow and obey it.
This challenges us to not only read God’s Word, but live it out. We need to know what it says, and do what it says. This sounds simple, but it is commanded because of how difficult it is. We need to repent of our tendency to stop short of obeying the Word. We can’t equate knowing it with doing it. Discipleship is not just about learning new things, but doing more of the things that we already know.
Ask the Lord to empower you today to obey the Scriptures. Let’s look for opportunities to immediately apply what we read or hear preached. True Christians want our lives to be marked by holiness and obedience to the Scriptures.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do Christians need constant reminders to be doers of the Word?
- How can our involvement in the church help us to obey the Scriptures?
- What areas of Scripture do you find most challenging to obey?
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