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?