James 1:22-25 says, “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.”
All of us at times read some truth in Scripture, or hear some truth taught, and we nod in agreement and even think to ourselves, “That was really good. I’ll have to remember that.” And then we walk away and quickly forget what we just read or heard. When we do that, we are not “doers” of the Word – we are “hearers” only.
What separates a “hearer” from a “doer?”
- Take a quick glance, but don’t do anything to fix what they see
- Forget what they just read or heard, because they really don’t regard it as important
- End up deceiving themselves – thinking they are doing, but they are only hearing
- Look intently at God’s Word
- Are liberated by God’s Word
- Are life-long learners of God’s Word
- Apply what they hear – not just to their outward behavior, but to their heart for real change
- Are blessed
Why are we so prone to be hearers only and not doers? Why do we read and hear such wonderful truths in God’s Word, but walk away and forget what it is telling us? There might be any number of reasons, but here are a few that might help us to better understand.
- We have tried, and continue to try, to solve things on our own – deceiving ourselves that we can. God’s Word tells us that we have to rely on God’s direction and power to help us walk through whatever is facing us.
- We forget the real reason for spending time in God’s Word. We make it a routine – a thing to check off our list – and don’t remember that God’s Word is alive and active – ready to change us, if we allow it to do so.
- We are scared to admit that we need to change or do something differently. When God’s Word convicts us, we have to admit that we need to change – we can easily walk away from that truth and “pretend” we are okay. Forgiveness and real change are there – but first, confession has to happen.
Do any of these resonate with you? Are you looking into God’s Word like you glance in a mirror – immediately forgetting what you saw and deceiving yourself with a false truth? This week begin the task of becoming a doer of God’s Word – not just a hearer.
Pray about it:
“Father, I thank You that we have Your precious Word available to us – to read, to hear, to study. I really don’t want to be just a hearer of Your truth. I want to be a doer – one who looks intently at what You say and then applies it to my heart and my behaviors. Help me to spend quality time in Your Word so I can allow it to penetrate my heart and change me. Amen.”
Act on it:
This week, work at becoming a doer of the Word. When you hear or read something that speaks to you, take time to write it down. Visit your notes each day, so that you don’t easily forget. Think of ways in which you can act on that truth immediately, and look for other opportunities for action as the week progresses. Share your journey with your spouse or a trusted friend so they can encourage you on the way.