“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 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 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.” James 1:22-25
I remember listening to a pastor years ago that openly admitted he did not counsel people. He said he always gets calls from people wanting to meet to talk about their “issues” and “struggles” in hopes that by doing so they would feel better about themselves. This particular pastor was tired of listening to the excuses and explanations, perhaps even rationalizations, to the sin that had so easily entangled them. He said from the pulpit, “If you think you may want to come speak with me about such matters, let me save you a trip by saying now what I would tell you then. STOP IT!”
This is exactly what James is telling those of us who have heard, studied and know the word. We know what the answer is before we even state the problem. James says it plain and clear . . . “Do what it says!” If you’re anything like me, you’re probably saying to yourself . . . “yeah, easier said than done!” It would have been nice for James to have added a verse or two to follow that statement that addressed that very thing wouldn’t it?
It wasn’t so much that James was wanting to give us the tools — he knew that Christ was the answer plain and simple. Nothing more and definitely nothing less. Christ is more than enough! James was merely stating the ardent truth about the difference in knowing and doing.
Doing takes faith and faith is hoping in that which we can’t see. This is why doing what we know doesn’t always match our feelings or our will.
Knowing + Faith + Doing = Blessed (John 13:17)
Peter picks up where James never went. Before becoming blessed is doing, through faith from knowing. Therefore, Peter instructs for us to prepare our minds for action. In other words, we’ve got to invest into our minds the essence and knowledge of God through His word so that we can be doers of the word. He outlines in I Peter 1:13-16 to be self-controlled, to set my hope on His grace, to be obedient, to not conform . . . to be holy!
My God, might I keep my eyes fixed upon you! Thank you for the richness of your written word — may my faith grow, through obedience to you!
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” I Peter 1:15-16