“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves … the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
James 1:22 & 25
It’s easy to say from the safety of my church pew on a Sunday morning that I’m ready and willing for encounters with people that provide opportunities to love and serve like Jesus.
It’s much more difficult to have that same mindset when I’m walking through the door at Starbucks (or better yet, going through the drive-thru), mentally reviewing my to-do list, just wanting to get my coffee and go.
But I think James makes it pretty clear that we’re not supposed to just agree with Scripture in theory.
We’re supposed to agree in action. We’re supposed to actually be doing.
Yes, Christ took time to pull away from activities… to spend quiet time alone in prayer, to listen to the Father, to be refreshed and restored in His presence … so the hearing part is important.
But then He poured all of Himself back out on others. He invested in the least of these.
Not by just doing for the sake of doing. But rather, by doing out of obedience to the Father and genuine love.
As I was sitting in the choir loft listening to the sermon during the second service on Easter morning, I caught my mind beginning to wander. Realizing that I was having trouble focusing, I thought, “How do I make it look like I’m engaged?”
No sooner had the question entered my conscious thoughts than I knew the answer: “Actually BE engaged.”
And I think that’s what James is getting at…
Want to look like you’re serving? Actually be serving.
Want to look like you’re invested in the lives of others? Actually be invested.
Want to look like you’re excited for others’ good news? Actually be excited.
Want to look like you’re grateful? Actually be grateful.
Want to look like you’re more loving? Actually be more loving.
Want to look like Jesus? Actually be like Jesus.
It’s not enough to just know the right answer, to hear the Word and agree in principle, or to give the appearance of a life lived in obedience to Christ. It’s not enough to just know the Word intellectually or intend to do something about what it says later.
Don’t just be a hearer of the Word. Actually be a doer.