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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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”