Summary: Three basics for living the Christian life from the Book of James - Be Teachable, Live a moral life, and embrace the Word of God.
I’ve got to be honest with you -- I hate following instructions. If at all possible, I’d rather try to figure things out for myself than look at an instruction manual. I think it’s a guy thing. But it’s true. And it doesn’t really matter what it is. It can be setting the clock on the VCR, figuring out a new computer program, or running a microwave. I don’t like using instruction manuals. And I hate using maps. Sometimes if I’m going someplace and don’t know how to get there, I’ll just wander around until I happen upon my destination.
But you know what I’ve discovered? There are simply times when I need instructions. After I struggle with something for a while with no progress, I’ll give in and glance at the instructions. There are times when I get in over my head and I need to turn to the instructions for help.
One of the areas of life where I constantly need help is with living the Christian life. That’s an area where I can’t afford to waste time trying to figure it out for myself or making up my own rules. I need to know what God’s instructions are for my life.
That’s why I love the book of James in the Bible. It’s a book about practical Christianity. There are all kinds of instructions for life that are contained in the pages of that book. This morning, we’re going to take a closer look at the passage we read earlier in the service and we’re going to identify three of the instructions James has for us.
Main Passage: James 1:19-25
Three Instructions For The Christian Life:
1. Be teachable (v.19)
“My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (v.19).
Don’t think you know it all. You don’t. We’ve all got areas we can grow in. We all need to be willing to be quiet and accept instructions if we ever hope to improve in these areas.
Take a look at this scene from Mr. Holland’s Opus:
(Show clip - girl who was going to give up playing the clarinet)
Interesting. The girl was discouraged and ready to give up. But she didn’t reject Mr. Holland’s offer to help. Instead of simply refusing and leaving the room, she sat down, listened to him, and followed his instructions.
I don’t think God is ever going to ask you how many times you read the Bible through or how many verse you memorized or how many Bible studies you attended. Those are all important things, but ultimately God is going to want to know how much you applied to your life. He’s not going to care how much you know nearly as much as how you put what you know into practice in your life.
I teach piano lessons. I teach my students about sharps and flats, repeats, dynamics, phrasing, timing, rhythms and intervals. I have them learn the theory and work out problems with paper and pencil. But I also have them put the theory they’re learning into practice by getting them to sit at the piano and learn to play.
How about you? When you read the Bible, does it ever occur to you to think about how you can put it into practice? If you do, do you take the next step and actually put it into practice? Are you teachable?
We should be teachable, but the truth is that there are a lot of people that aren’t.
Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.
~ Paul Dickson (freelance writer and author)
Why? Help me out. Why is it that some people simple refuse to admit weaknesses and be taught?
Yeah, there may be many reasons why they’re not teachable, but I believe there’s one dominant reason: Pride. People don’t want to admit that they don’t know it all. Their ego prevents them from recognizing mistakes in their lives.
I read this definition for “ego” about a week ago, and it stuck with me. Ego is simply “Edging God Out.” When we stop being teachable because our egos are too big we stop growing spiritually. We start to think we’ve got it made, and eventually we lose sight of the fact that we need God. It’s in our weakness that He is made strong.
So watch out for pride in your life. Stay teachable. Desire to grow in your relationship with Christ and in your Christian walk. Seek and accept advise, and don’t be afraid of criticism.
I’ve got a quote here and I honestly have no idea who said it. But I like what they said:
“Don’t mind criticism. If it’s untrue, disregard it; if it’s unfair, keep from irritation; if it’s ignorant, smile; if it’s justified, learn from it.”