Listening & Doing 2

We are doing the second of two parts, last week Listening and today the Doing.

I am going to briefly touch on a precedent that we looked at last week, as it is key understanding the impact of today’s section.  The precedent is that we act as incubators or wombs (yes, wombs!) for ideas or thoughts or temptation that, when they combine with desire in us bring forth sin or at best, self righteousness.  God’s righteousness results if we accept the truth of the Word in humility.

We ended last week on the thought, “ humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” It does not say it will, but it can.  Why? 

James 1: 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

There is type of listening that is not really listening at all.  It is more like hearing.  I have often used the analogy of a boxer who is fighting and has his coach standing next to the ring shouting instructions at him.  He may hear, but in the heat of the fight find it hard to apply the instructions.  But when the round ends and the stool is kicked in under him as he falls into his corner the coach is speaking to him all the time while mopping his face and applying petroleum jelly.  It is more likely that he will act on those instructions, as they have an immediate application to his circumstances and he is able to give more consideration to them.

Many people know a lot about the Word of God as it is contained in the Bible.  But this knowledge that is only head or heard is not life changing.  The truth does not set one free! Nor does knowing it!

John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

It is in giving expression to what we believe that we are made free.  In acting and doing according to the truth we are set free from the lie. This is what holding to Jesus’ teaching means.

But let’s return to the analogy of the Word as seed. It will bring forth according to its nature, the nature of Jesus, God.  Remember in John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It says in essence that Jesus is the embodiment of the Word.

So looking at the word as a mirror means to see ourselves as God is making us.  This will be completed and perfected at Christ’s return when we see face to face and are completely changed in the twinkling of an eye.  This is the freedom that is referred to in verse 25, the freedom from sin and the freedom to be who the Father intends for us to be!

Now James expands on what the freedom looks like:

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Application:

We have drawn up FaithWorks Revolution Report Cards.  Get hold of one, look up the references for the different FaithWorks and pray that God will help you to choose at least one to do for the next week.  Please give feedback and we are going to give opportunities to share what happened!

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