Do What It Says!

James 1:22-25 (NIV)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.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.

Week after week, we sit in a room and listen to someone speak from God’s Word.  Perhaps you’ve heard countless sermons on countless subjects from countless passages of Scripture.  I’ve preached somewhere in the neighborhood of 900+ sermons in my ministry (18 years * 50 sermons/year = 900, give or take).  I wonder how many of them were memorable.  I wonder how many of them were life transforming.  I wonder how many times I heard the words, “Good job, preacher!” as the people walked out of the door and quickly forgot everything I said.
We hear God’s Word preached every week, yet, if we’re honest, we would admit that it rarely changes our lives.  It’s not the fault of God’s Word.  It is living and active, according to Hebrews 4:12.  Perhaps it is the fault of the listener who zones out each week with a glazed look in their eyes.  More than likely, though, it is the fault of the earthly communicator.  God has given us a powerful message and yet it is communicated poorly.  The problem is that preachers, myself included, forget about James 1:23.  We don’t challenge people to do what the Word says to do.  We’ll spend a lot of time getting into the text to determine its meaning and we’ll tell people what it means and we’ll feel really good that we told them these things, but we fail to tell them what they should do with it.  On the day of Pentecost, the people asked Peter what they should do with his message.  He responded with definite action.  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave the people concrete applications of His message.  We need to do more than just understand what a text of Scripture means.  We need to do what it says to DO!  That means that preachers must preach application as well as explanation.  That means that Christians must think about the ramifications of what they rad as they read their Bibles.  It means that we cannot read a passage of Scripture and say, “I know who needs to read this!”  The point of Scripture is to change YOU, not those around you.  Let the Holy Spirit convict others.  At that moment, the Spirit is convicting YOU!
Scripture is more than a text book for gaining trivial knowledge.  It is an instruction manual for how to live and please God.  When we do what it says, we not only live better lives, we please the Father and we will be blessed in all that we do.
PRAYER:  Father God, I thank You for Your Word.  I ask that it would penetrate my heart today.  Help me see how living it out will not only result in blessings for me, but how it will please You.  Help me to not only understand what it means, but how to live it out each day.  Thank You.  Amen.

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