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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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.