Summary: Is it too much? Is it too hard? Sometimes when we read the Bible, we wonder, can it really be done? It seems like so much, it seems like such a high standard. I’ve wondered that at times.
"I've read that when Edward VI, the king of England in the 16th century, attended a worship service, he stood while the Word of God was read. He took notes during this time and later studied them with great care. Through the week he earnestly tried to apply them to his life. That's the kind of serious-minded response to truth the apostle James calls for in today's Scripture reading. A single revealed fact cherished in the heart and acted upon is more vital to our growth than a head filled with lofty ideas about God.
One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it."
Chambers, Our Daily Bread, March 4, 1993.
James 1:22, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
Is it too much? Is it too hard? Sometimes when we read the Bible, we wonder, can it really be done? It seems like so much, it seems like such a high standard. I’ve wondered that at times.
But I’ll tell you this, it can be done, but it doesn’t happen all at once. It happens over years and years. So we have to be patient. But we also have to be dedicated to the process.
“One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.” It’s not enough to sit in church and learn about what the right things to do are.
We have to come the point where we say alright, how do I put this into practice? It’s time to fight those hard, hard battles with our faults and failings.
In verse 21 of our scripture today it says, “ 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
Get rid of the filth in your life. Clear it out. That’s what James writes. Clear out the evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you. Many of you here have that word planted in your heart. God is at work. You’re feeling drawn to pray, to study the Bible, and to come to church. You’re feeling a discomfort in your heart with things in your life that are wrong. There is an upset in your heart, in your stomach, and you can feel it. That is called “conviction. “ Conviction is when God’s Holy Spirit which lives in our body, is telling us something we do is wrong.
We feel it when we smoke a cigarette, or we feel it when we swear, or when we lie to someone, when we tell someone we’re here, and we’re actually somewhere else. Or when our friend leaves the room, we steal something off their counter top. Or when we use a drug, or get drunk, or when we masturbate, or sleep around with people. We feel dirty. We feel the sin. And the Holy Spirit whispers to us: “Don’t do that. Put that away.”
We have free will, we have the choice to either stop, or continue. That is a sacred gift from God. But I challenge you today, don’t just listen in church, then go out during the week and do whatever you want.
Sincerely try to live it out. Sincerely try to live like Jesus each week.
In the book of James it says, “23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
So you’re starting your day, and you look in the mirror as you brush your teeth and get ready. And you tell yourself, “I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus.” But then as you jump into your daily routine, you immediately forget that you’re a Christian.
You live selfishly. You lie. You steal. You gossip and slander people. You spread rumors. You yell at someone. You curse and yell at God.
You’ve forgotten who you are. You’re a Christian. How can we transfer this head knowledge, this Bible truth into our real everyday lives.
We can do that. By praying through the day, by whispering prayers in our minds during the day. We can do that by remembering the words of the Bible and storing them in our minds.
And pretty soon we will be swearing less, we will be less selfish and helping others more, we’ll be lying less, we’ll be gossiping less, and pretty soon those things will vanish entirely. But we have to remember who we are.
I am a Christian. Say it with me. I am a Christian.
So if we remember our face in the mirror, that I follow Jesus, then James says, “. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”