Daily D – James 1:22
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. JAMES 1:22 (NLT)
Ninety-nine students out of one hundred will never learn algebra by listening to a lecture. Ninety-nine soldiers out of one hundred will never learn to hit a bullseye by watching someone else fire a rifle. Ninety-nine preachers out of one hundred will never help their listeners experience true transformation without helping them see what they can do about what a biblical text says.
The New Testament book of James is a book about transformation. Reading this book carefully makes you think James would not tolerate a politician’s faith claims who says, “I am a good Christian,” and then opposes cardinal truths of the faith. Christians In Name Only either need to start living what they say they believe or stop making false claims to gain votes.
Slide your finger down the page of James 1. In the first few verses after his personal identification, he says we should take a long-term view on problems (vv. 1-4). Nothing grows our faith like learning we can depend on God in the tough times.
Then he addresses our lack of wisdom for challenges of all kinds (vv. 5-8). He says we should ask and act. Ask God for the wisdom you need. Act according to the wisdom God gives.
James tells us that prosperity comes and prosperity goes (vv. 9-11). Character endures. He also says God’s reward for overcoming temptation is greater by far than what the temptation to sin promises (vv. 12-15).
He goes on to say we need to see ourselves as God sees us (vv. 16-18). God is the giver of all good things. He is the source of steady strength. We are his prized possession.
James says it may make us feel powerful to burst out in anger, but our offense at other people’s behavior is not what creates true righteousness (vv. 19-21). God’s truth turns righteous anger into righteous correction that saves, delivers, and heals.
Hop over today’s text to the final verses of this chapter (vv. 26, 27). True transformation changes the way we speak to ourselves and to others. It takes care of the most vulnerable among us.
True transformation, moving beyond living life as a Christian In Name Only, shows up in every area of our lives. It provides perspective. It shapes our thinking. It reorients our activity. It delivers us from evil. It empowers us to provide lasting change in a dark and tasteless world.
No fooling, we need to read God’s word, listen to God’s word, and memorize God’s word. Most importantly of all, we need to do what it says. Otherwise, we are only making fools of ourselves.
Transformation or foolhardiness: It’s our choice. It’s a daily choice. It’s time to choose for today. James might even say, “Choose wisely.” Which choice would you prefer to lie down with tonight?
I will put into practice what God says to do.
Our Father, I want to experience the true transformation of knowing what you say and doing what you ask. You provide all I need to live what I say I believe. Transform my life. Make me an agent of transformation. Amen.
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Jeremiah 18:1-4 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)