“22 You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. 23 Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror.” James 1:22-23 CEB
Every week in church I ask you to allow me the opportunity to pray with you before we begin the message. In that prayer I almost always pray something like this, “Lord, help the words we have read not just be words that we read and understand. Help them come alive to us in the power of your Holy Spirit so we may live them with our life.” When I was a young Christian it was impressed upon me to be sure to live what I believe. There is nothing more disheartening than to have someone get on their soapbox and preach about how important something is and then not live it. I learned throughout my education and process of ordination that we must have a consistent and lived theology. If we say God is loving and merciful, we must do our best to demonstrate God’s love and mercy to others. We don’t want the words of Scripture to be simply ancient words recorded long ago that we read and understand. The greatest desire of a Christian is to have those words come alive so others can see what they mean as we experience living it in our life.
Whenever I go to the golf course there is always at least one person that doesn’t get it. They are the one who is decked out from head to toe. They look just like a professional golfer with the complete outfit, expensive golf clubs, fancy golf bag and everything. Just seeing them walking around you might think they were a professional golfer. They probably even eat, drink, and sleep all things golf. There is just one problem—they can’t play. When it comes to swinging the clubs and making the shots, they stink. There are a lot of areas of life where this principle applies. I’m sure it happens at work where someone plays the part, but doesn’t actually work very hard. I’m sure it happens in homes where a parent is present but not really fully engaged in their kid’s life. I am sure it happens in a lot of places in our life. The questions is should it exist? I believe it should not, to the best of our ability.
This is what James is talking about when it comes to our faith. James opens in the first chapter with a call to be real. He says it is not enough to just hear what is right, we must do what is right. He goes as far to say if we say we believe and understand, but we don’t do what Scripture says, we mislead ourselves. We are deceiving our own sense of what it means to follow after God when we only believe. Our belief needs action. We must do what the word of God says also. Maybe the next question is why? It’s not just so that we can be better Christians. We must do what God teaches in Scripture because that is how others will know about the Good News about Jesus. We live in a world that needs a big old dose of hope. When we live out our beliefs, what we have learned from Scripture, we are shining a bright light of hope into the world in which we live. We are showing people just a glimpse of God’s great love for them. We show them God’s love by the way we love. So we must be doers not just hearers of God’s word.
Faith is not just the words we say, but also the works we display.
What will you do today? I pray that we will all spend some time in God’s word today. Start with James and at least read chapter one. Be challenged to not just read for understanding. Instead, read also for action. Ask yourself, “What is this calling me to do today?” I believe James is challenging us all to do what Scripture says. The overwhelming place to start is to make sure we love. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor the way Jesus loves you. This is a great place to start doing what Scripture says to do. Let’s be doers of God’s word today. Let’s spread some hope and love today. Whatever and wherever and with whomever the Holy Spirit leads you to do today—be a doer! May it be so in our life in Jesus name.
This Sunday we begin a new message series entitled “A Life of Joy.” This is a study of The Book of James in the New Testament. As I will be leading our Men’s Mission Trip to Costa Rica, we will be challenged by a good friend of mine Rev. Keith Harcombe, who is one of the Pastors at Bay Hope Church. He will help us look at what it means to live our faith. When we choose to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone in our life we are on mission together. I hope you will join us this weekend in worship. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!