Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)
When you listen to the Word or read the word and never do what it says to do, the bible says that you deceive yourself. You deceive yourself because you have thought to yourself that you are pleasing God by listening to His word when you are actually insulting God by ignoring His commands. Every Christian has been guilty of this, but some more than others. Some entire churches are filled with self-deceivers. Children of Hell fill the pews of many churches. They seem to think they are safe because they attend church on a regular basis, but they are not safe. Maybe they once were convicted to adhere to God’s glorious admonitions, but at some point they refused to obey. God’s Spirit dealt with them, but they ignored that still small voice. Eventually they grieved the Holy Spirit away, and seared their conscience with a hot iron (eph 4:30, 1 tim 2:4).
God’s Word is meaningless if it is not obeyed. It becomes like an ornament that hangs on the wall of your house. It looks nice, but does nothing. It would be like a builder who hangs all of his tools on the wall and walks by day by day to look at them, but never takes them down to build. He admires how nice they look and maybe even talks about how useful they could be, but he never uses them. Maybe he even calls himself a builder and wears the same type of clothes that a builder would wear. But is he a builder if he never uses his tools? Is a soldier a soldier if he never picks up his weapon? Is an athlete an athlete if he never uses his equipment? Even so a christian is not a christian who admires God’s word but never puts it to work in his life. This person has deluded himself.
Another scripture that comes to mind on this subject is the story of the wise and foolish builders that Jesus spoke about. One built a house upon sand and the other upon a rock. I’m sure the man who built his house upon the sand mocked while reclining in his newly built house as the wise man dug deeply to reach the rock. Eventually both had their houses fully built. Each one lived happily as long as the sun shone and the skies were blue. Even so, those who are hearers, but not doers of God’s Word will live happily as long as life continues to be easy. But woe to that man when the storms of life begin to brew. He will find that the life he has built will begin to crumble around him. The wise man, who built his life on the solid rock of the Word of God (that is, doing the Word), will also be in the storm, but his house will not be shaken. I’ve seen it over and over again in my short 31 years of life. Many people go along seemingly fine for a while, but soon enough their world is shaken to the core. These are those who do not have the firm foundation of God’s Word. But I’ve also seen those whose lives are as steady as a rock. These are the people who spend time away from the world so that they might fill themselves with God’s glorious truths, that they might do them.
Don’t deceive yourself. Don’t think that you are ok because life is going by with no problems. If you are not a doer of the Word then you are living in a house built upon the sand. Its only a matter of time before everything that you have built will fall apart. Save yourself now by listening to what God has to say, and then DOING IT.
James says that if anyone hears the Word and does not do it is like a person that looks at himself in a mirror, and when he walks away, he forgets what kind of person he was. God’s Word acts as a reflection to your inner person. You can look at it and see what kind of condition you are in. You can see if your hair is messed up or if there is dirt on your face. You can see that there is food stuck in your teeth. But those who refuse to do God’s word is like the one who refuses to reach for the hair gel, or the dental floss. They leave the mirror and make no corrections to their condition. They wonder why life is so difficult. But we should not be that way. We should look very carefully in the perfect law of liberty and continue in it. We should observe every flaw that it points out. And we should observe every good thing that it points out. Taking the good and the bad, let us correct the bad and believe the good. If the bible says we are washed clean from our sin, made the righteousness of Christ, and heirs of God, then lets walk away from the mirror with confidence. If it tells us to quit gossiping, lets quit doing it. Looking in the mirror tells you who you really are, and, likewise, God’s word shows you who you really are. Thank God for that blessed Word! What a privilege to have it!