FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In James 1, we read, â€œ22Â But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.Â Â 23Â For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:Â Â 24Â For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.Â Â 25Â But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.â€Â This was given after exhorting Godâ€™s people to meekly receive Godâ€™s word of truth.Â That is, as Paul said to those at Thessalonica, â€œas it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.â€Â And, James warns against something that happens all too often after the word of God has been read or heard: it is forgotten.Â Take careful heed to the warning.
James exhorts us to be doers of the word and not hearers only.Â That mistake comes easy if we are not hungering for the word of God.Â If you think you are doing God a favor by being in church, if you think you donâ€™t need what was preached, or if you think you are better than others because they didnâ€™t show up, then it is not likely that what you heard will profit you very much.Â You would be deceiving yourself to think you â€œreceivedâ€ it.Â James says it was like looking into a mirror and beholding yourself, but then as soon as you turned away, you forgot what you saw.Â Godâ€™s truth plainly shows us what we are.Â But if we are not interested in growing and changing to be more like Jesus, then His word is not likely to â€œkeepâ€ our attention.Â It will be heard, but then it will leave our thoughts without having any lasting effect.Â Itâ€™s not the word, but the hearer that needs to change.
But for those who view the word of God for what it is,Â the perfect law of liberty, to have respect for it and to endeavor to make use of its teaching by applying it to his life, this person will be blessed.Â There is liberty in this because when we live and walk according to Godâ€™s word, there is no commandment against such.Â It is pleasing to the Lord.Â It is good for us to follow.Â We will be blessed with a joy and peace with God in every effort made to try to keep it in our mind and incorporate it as part of what guides us through this life.Â We are free to do all that Jesus commanded us to do because it honors Him, it shows our love for Him, and it brings glory to His matchless name.Â Accordingly, John 8:31-32 says, â€œThen said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;Â And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.â€Â There is bondage in sin, but there is freedom and liberty in obeying Godâ€™s word.Â And to obey it, we have to hear it, understand it, apply it, and then continue in it.
So, how have we been doing in hearing AND doing Godâ€™s word?Â There is a wonderful â€œsaving influenceâ€ to be had from hearing and doing according to Godâ€™s word.Â It saves us from the pain of mistakes and it saves us from ignorance of what we should have done.Â May we save ourselves from being forgetful hearers, and may we be doers of the work.
In the love of Christ,
Elder Clayton Nowell