In my last column, I wrote about Essential Guideline #1 for the Christ-Follower: watch yourself. Today, we will cover guideline #2. James 1:19-27 gives three essential guidelines for the follower of Christ. As Christ-followers, we have guidelines that we must seek to live by and put into place. These guidelines are crucial to our Christian walk, and we must stay focused on the essential guidelines, or they will no longer be essential.
Essential Guideline #2 – Watch your walk.
“But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
James 1:22–25, NLT
In a clear sense, James is telling followers of Christ to get busy doing what they have learned! In our day and time, Christ-followers need to be doing more than talking or typing. We need to be about the Father’s business now more than ever. If there was ever a time for a follower of Christ to live out their faith, now is the time.
James is calling on his readers to internalize the Word of God. By internalizing it, we are ready to act upon it. We no longer operate from our emotions and what the World tells us. We operate from what God’s Holy Word tells us. I believe that many people do not read the Word, not because they cannot, but because they do not want to stop doing what they are doing. Many people are okay with listening to the Word, but when the rubber meets the road, they are ready to tuck their tail and run.
The challenge before us today is more doing, less talking. In this day and time that we are living in, we need more doers than talkers. People who are merely listening to the Word are on dangerous grounds, and they are deceiving themselves. They think they have faith, and it appears that they do, but when things get rough, they ask the “where is God” question.
Immature people talk about their beliefs, but the mature person lives his faith. Hearing God’s Word (James 1:22–25) and talking about God’s Word can never substitute for doing God’s Word.
Warren W. Wiersbe
Dr. Draper Rogers is a pastor at Gardendale First Baptist Church. He writes a weekly column for North Jefferson Magazine.