James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Have you ever been deceived about anything? Anyone ever pull the wool over your eyes? Maybe it was a salesman who promised that his product would do wonders for you, but you found it did nothing but leave you a little poorer. Or maybe you were lied to in other ways. It never feels very good when we realize we’ve been violated in such a way. But what’s worse than this is when the deceiver turns out to be us! The Bible says that we’re actually pretty good at deceiving ourselves. And people of faith, those who really believe the Bible, can be particularly good at it.
James talks about those who are hearers of the word. This is a good thing. Jesus often said “Listen,” or “he that has ears to hear, let him hear.” But if that’s where things stop, i.e., if the “hearer” fails to put what he has heard into practice and become a “doer,” he deceives himself. We can become self-satisfied in knowing and understanding what the Bible says, and deceive ourselves into thinking that because we know what it says, we also exemplify what it says. However, when we fail to put words into action and “walk the talk” we are like a foolish man that builds his house on the sand. Jesus said that such a person “who hears these words of mine and does not do them” will crumble when the storms of life come (Matthew 7:24-27).
We’ve all heard of pastors that have fallen into sexual sin, devastating their own lives, their families, and their churches. These are people that obviously didn’t act upon the very words they were preaching. Another example: the Bible tells us to “preach the gospel to every creature.” It constantly admonishes Christians to “let their light shine” and to proclaim the Word in both their words and life. We know it says this. So, when is the last time that you or I did it? Have we told anyone about Jesus lately – today, this past week, this past month?
The Bible tells us all to examine ourselves, test ourselves, and look at the log in our own eyes. May we ask ourselves the hard questions on a regular basis – are we hearing the Word only, or are we doing it as well?
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