Act on What You Hear! | James 1:19-25
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. James 1:19-25 | MSG
James’ passion is contagious – if not a bit overwhelming at times. The people of Israel have frequently been described as “people of the book.” Preserving the written law of Moses and compiling what we now know as the Bible (at least most of it) has been at the center of their existence as a people. As Paul testifies, “What is the advantage of being a Jew? Much in every way. First of all, they were entrusted with the very words of God” (Romans 3:1-2). It’s as if James, the great Jewish apostle of the Jewish church in Jewish Jerusalem, holding up the Torah scroll before his Jewish congregants, asks them what use is it to stand as it is opened, to touch it with the fringe of their robes, to say a solemn “amen” as it is chanted – if they never actually do anything with it? God is not honored by a respectful treatment of a scroll or book; he is blessed by our hearing and responding to its contents. How much easier to respectfully dust the cover, to respectfully bow at its reading, and then to put it back in its place as we then wipe our mouths and get back to our business? How easy to limit our involvement with the Book to using it as fodder for small group discussions that are left to play out in the confines of our living rooms, or as material for a weekly religious address we call a sermon? James would have none of it, would have none of us as such “distracted scatterbrains.” To respect the Bible is to hear it. To hear is to respond. To respond is to be changed – and to change the world.
How is your hearing when it comes to Bible study? How readily can you apply the truths you see in practical ways?
Lord, let me not fear to look in the mirror of you, of your Word and words. Deliver me from my scatterbrain ways of “hearing” but then walking away. Keep me from merely respecting a book. Incline my ears to hear, my eyes to see, my heart to respond to your Voice. Through Jesus.
Each time you spend time reading the Bible this week, before closing that cover and putting it back on the shelf, take a moment. Pause. Ponder. And whether you actually write it down or not, listen for one practical way of putting what you just heard into action. Then keep listening for further instructions.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.