“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-James 1:21-22
There is another danger in our walk of faith that is equally as devastating as over-reacting and that is under performing. In this passage, James is addressing another problem he has observed among believers. Many were knowledgeable about scripture, knowledgable about church, knew the right things to say; but were not executing the truth of God’s word in their daily life. Being a non-response believer is just as crippling as being a reactionary believer. They are what I like to call idealistic Christians. They like the idea of Christianity, but are not interested in the application or sacrifice expected of those who received truth.
Right from the beginning of the passage, James calls for Christians to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and to receive with meekness the implanted word. He called for them to be doers of the word and not hearers only. When we are hearers and not doers, we deceive ourselves into believing that we are in right standing with God. True salvation, however, will always lead to serving. Unfortunately, there are those who are more interested in their image than they are accomplishing the will of God in the earth.
“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”-James 1:23-25
You can construe a lot of different things from this passage, but for me it boils down to this: You can spend you time looking in the mirror, preparing to do something, or you can get out there and do it. You can spend your time appearing to be a servant, or you can roll up your sleeves and serve. We have way too many believers who are more concerned about their image than they are accomplishing God’s will. It soon becomes all about maintaining the image they have created, of themselves, in their own minds. Nevertheless, when you peer into God’s Word to see what needs accomplished, how you appear quickly loses it’s appeal. You discover who you are in Christ and can focus on what needs accomplished. I no longer have to see me, I just need to see Him!
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”-James 1:26-27
A lot of people think they are religious (spiritual), but their actions and words communicate a different story. Worthless religion is a religion that makes you feel better about yourself, but doesn’t really transform your life. Genuine religion leads us to express our faith in very practical ways like taking care of those in need but it also leads us to develop an inner devotion to God’s holiness.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church