Live The Word!
James 1:22-25 “22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
James isn’t just suggesting that we do some of the things we read in the Bible and it’s obvious that he isn’t teaching us that it’s even remotely okay to hear the teaching of Scripture without responding to it by changing how we live. He is clearly advocating that, as professing believers, our entire personality should be characterized by our progressive understanding of the truth of God’s Holy Word. If we have a clear understanding from Scripture that we shall not commit murder then we know that abortion is deeply evil and should never be a topic easily brushed aside. If we have been blessed with the knowledge found in the Word of God that we shall not commit adultery and that God hates divorce then we too should hate the tearing of the flesh that the lack of commitment to the covenant of marriage creates.
If we know from our daily reading of the Bible that we shall not steal then even the taking of a paper clip from our place of employment for our own personal use without the consent of someone in authority should produce a healthy guilt feeling and the desire to correct the situation asking for forgiveness from God. We should turn from those who do not repent, not cease to love them but refuse to associate with them other than when guiding them through the truth of the Bible until they seek forgiveness for their sin. This is not to suggest that our behavior should be neurotic, but as we learn what is right and true from God’s perspective then we should behave, act and react according to His truth.
Last week at work we received our monthly delivery of small wares (e.g. plates, glasses, kitchen utensils, etc.). When putting the order away one of my managers noticed a box of long stemmed wine glasses at the bottom of the stack. They were not the kind we used so he made me aware of his find and I looked at the label on the box and the invoice. The wine glasses were supposed to go to another restaurant about a mile and a half away and we were not charged for them on our invoice. Almost immediately the people at our business started laying claim to a portion of the glasses that the delivery person inadvertently left behind. Their thought process was that the distributor was a multi-million dollar business and would never miss a case of glasses and, after all, it was their mistake anyway. I stepped in and said that I would call the company we ordered the product from and make them aware of their error. And, I offered to drop off the glasses to the restaurant that they were originally intended for. There have been quite a few times in the past where my wife (at the time) or kids would point out errors in receiving change from a purchase that resulted in additional money being given to us or where we were not charged for products we received like goods from the grocery store or beverages not included on our bill from a restaurant. In every case where I was made aware of an error we did the right thing, pointed it out and offered to correct it. In some cases the companies representative just made the correction, in others they thanked us for our honesty and in still others they offered the product we went back to pay for free of charge with their compliments.
In all of the cases such as this, the intention was not to promote myself or to display a “holier than thou” attitude but to display the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The attempt was to follow the teaching found in Scripture and to ensure that my behavior is as close to Christ-likeness as I am able to be at this point in my walk with Him. There were some side benefits like setting the right example for my co-workers (perhaps giving them at least one reason to look to Jesus for salvation and help in their current circumstances) and also setting a good example for my family, but my goal is only to please God by demonstrating my understanding of His teaching through my actions. I will never be perfected until Christ returns but the more I read the Bible, and the more help I receive from the Holy Spirit in understanding and applying what I read, the better the servant I am for God.
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