Summary: Our Lord wants us to be ’doers’, ’hearers’, and obedient!
Just Do It – Pt 1
* Nike is a mega-sports company which is known for its slogan, “Just do it.” From God’s word today let’s consider this slogan but let’s add three words, “For the Lord.” We don’t “do” for our salvation, we do from our salvation. We don’t do to ‘gain’ eternal life; we do to GIVE eternal life. Yet in an honest evaluation we discover that many prefer NOT to do at all or to do for all the wrong reasons. We have been called, commanded, and challenged to live in a way that others can see Christ in us. This is seen in whether we are selfish or selfless, generous or stingy, righteous or evil. Our actions, our activities, and our attitudes convey much more than our words.
* An old axiom is this, “you can do the RIGHT thing in the wrong way or for the wrong reason and still be wrong. However, you can never do the wrong thing an ‘a’ right way.” So it is not only ‘what’ we do but, according to our Lord, it matters ‘why’ we do it. Each day we are faced with choices where we have to decide these things. Will we conform to the evil deeds which we see? Will we be a part of character assassination? Will we hear words of hurt about others and simply turn our heads as if to say, “I agree.” By the way, when we hear derogatory words being spoken & we say nothing, we tacitly agree. (Silence is agreement).
* When Christ walked on planet earth, He chose His words carefully so as to teach all of us ‘How to do life.’ With His words & His life, He confronted evil wherever He discovered it. Even though it wasn’t popular, He countered the scribes, Pharisees, and others who presented a skewed view of godliness. His half-brother on earth, James, then picked up the mantle and gave us this very practical book (which bears his name) to help us know “How to do Life” & how to do it in a way which please our Heavenly Father. While our study thus far has been helpful, James is about to get personal to the point of being painful as he deals with issues which are uncomfortable.
* (READ TEXT) Having just completed his introduction by dealing with trials, temptations, and the like, James gives us 4 thoughts to help us live like Christ’s ambassadors in this fallen world. We can tell how difficult these words are to write because James feels the need to reinforce his love and affection for the original readers. Then he exhorts us to;
1. Listen Carefully – The scripture says, “Be Swift to Hear.” It is at this point that most people will expect a reminder that God gave us two ears and one mouth, so maybe we should get the anatomical hint. Add to this truth that the Bible speaks much about listening more than talking and listening with understanding. The writer of Proverbs tells us to ‘listen to counsel & receive instruction’ & that ‘plans fail when there is no counsel,’ & that whoever listens to counsel is wise.” Most would consider this to be the application for this passage, but it seems to me to say something else.
Just do it – Pg 2
* Consider all that James has written for us to understand. He is teaching “Kingdom Principles” and KP are always opposite of human reasoning & logic. How do you count it joy when trouble comes? How do you boast in poverty and resist temptation when the pull is so powerful? How are we to have confidence when the bottom falls out? All of these things boggle the human mind! Yet, this is exactly what James (inspired by the Spirit) says to us. James is saying, ‘Listen carefully to what the word of God is saying.’ Listen with full focus. The word ‘swift’ means be ‘ready, eager & willing to listen to God.’ In the Message, Gene Peterson writes, “Lead with your ears and follow with your mouth.” God’s words gives us what we need to ‘just do it’ in life. Otherwise we will find ourselves like those who “have ears but don’t hear”. It’s like the child (who may not be a kid, if you know what I mean) who you cannot hear what you are saying because they are forming their rebuttal. This reminds me of Moses at the burning bush, God said, “I will” and Moses said, “I can’t” and “they won’t.”
* Not one person in this room will argue that when the scriptures tell us to ‘repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved. No one will second guess that “God loves the world so much that He gave Jesus for us.” However, there seems to be a “disconnect” between our talk & our listening. The same God who gave the word about repentance & new life gives us a word about living the holy life. He tells put off some things, to put away some thing, to put to death something, and to put on some new things. These are not specifically ‘one time’ events. These changes continue throughout our lives. Listen carefully to what we are told and respond to the word He gives.