Monday, April 8, 2013

Open Ears

Hearing can be a problem, but sometimes we just aren't listening.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. ~James 1:22

As Pastor pointed out Sunday morning, the point of James chapter one, verses nineteen through twenty-five is to be found here in verse twenty-two. He also explained how this truth could be the central thought around which the rest of the book revolves. If you could sum up in one sentence how a Christian should live it is to be found here in this one verse. A mark of genuine faith that saves is a desire to know God’s Word and do it. There are however, many who hear, read, study the Bible, but then do not do it. To hear the Word of God is a good thing, but without the doing of it is foolishness.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” ~Matthew 7:24-27

James came up with this nugget of gold from the very words of Jesus. Everyone who hears Jesus’ words and obeys them is a wise person building their life on solid rock. But for those who only hear and never do are foolishly building their life on loose shifting sand and will fall. Do not be mistaken, hearing, reading, and studying the Word are good and needful, but it must be coupled with the doing and obeying of it for there to be a complete work. Pastor asked if there is a gap between what we know from God’s Word and what we do from God’s Word. In other words, do we “traffic in unlived truth?”

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. ~James 1:19-21

Pastor gave four easy to remember steps for us to remember as we consider what it means to respond to God’s Word in the hearing and doing of it. The four points were:
  1. Approach God’s Word with humility 
  2. Receive God’s Word in purity 
  3. Reflect on God’s Word continually 
  4. Respond to God’s Word actively 
The challenge for us as Christians is to hear, read, and study God’s Word with restraint and receptivity. James tells us to be quick to hear and slow to speak and slow to anger; that requires restraint, self control and a teachable heart that only comes from a Holy Spirit controlled life. The receptivity comes when we have prepared our lives like a farmer does the soil for the seed. As we put away the filth and wickedness of sin in our lives we become more receptive to what the Word has to say and give place to a growing desire to obey it. I know I am looking forward to hearing what Pastor has to say next on this subject and I pray that I will do it.

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 1:23-25

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