Getting Over on Ourselves – Part 2
“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 1:25 NIV).
In his New Testament letter, James says that if you are a hearer of the Word, but not a doer, you end up deceiving yourself. You go to a church where the words “God Is Love” are prominently displayed yet you don’t like people unless they’re your color or a part of your ethnic group. You read in the Bible that Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter, but you go off on anybody who gets in your way. What’s in our head is one thing, and what we live out from day to day is another. James says that is the deception: the thrill of truth, but no obedience that follows. That’s a sure sign that something’s really wrong, because the Bible says that “if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” A Christian should live differently, talk differently, act differently than he or she did before coming to Christ. When the seed of God is planted in us, there’s a hunger in us to be more like Jesus.
What do we do, then? Of course, we keep on reading our Bibles and going to church and hearing the Word, but here’s the key to being a doer, according to James: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it….” Looking intently means to stop and take time and stoop over and examine and pore over what God’s Word is saying—not just a cursory reading; not just a short Psalm before bed; not conforming to a shallow way of thinking that says, “Don’t get too involved…” And what is the result of looking intently into the Word that gives freedom? James says that if we do that, we “….will be blessed.” Do you want to know peace and joy? Say, “God, my goal is to be a doer of the Word; I want you to change my life; I want to be more like Jesus!” To the person who would say, "Hey, no one’s perfect,” we should reply, “Yes, but what are we aiming at? If we aim at nothing, we’ll hit it every time! But if we aim at being like Jesus, God is going to change us from glory to glory and from faith to faith!”
So, we shouldn’t just read verses about how husbands and wives should treat each other or a Scripture passage telling us that we’re to consider others better than ourselves. Our goal should be to act on it! And here’s the beauty of it: as we look intently into God’s Word and meditate on it, asking, “Lord, give me the strength to be a doer of the Word,” he won’t leave us on our own to obey! As we ask God to help us be more like Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk, to the glory of God! That’s a sure way to guard against getting over on ourselves!
Read James 1:25-27.