“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Surveys among Christians have shown that there is no significant difference between the lifestyle of church going evangelical Christians and people who totally reject Jesus Christ; their morality, social beliefs, and behavior are basically the same! To get a head full of knowledge about God’s word without obedience to God’s word is deceiving ourselves. If we don’t apply God’s word to the way we live our life it defeats God’s purposes for giving us His word. Jesus said to professing believers who were living an ungodly lifestyle, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). People who live a greedy and ungodly lifestyle will not enter into the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:3-5, Galatians 5:20-21). “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror” (James 1:23). The word of God is like a mirror; it shows humanity how sinful we are (Romans 3:9-20). God’s word exposes our pride, deceitfulness, lusts, self-centeredness, contempt for other people, lack of compassion, anger, ungodly speech, and our other ungodly characteristics. We read, listen and study God’s word, but too many times we become “forgetful hearers” and our lifestyle isn’t any different than unbelievers. James is talking about professing Christians who don’t make God’s word a priority in their life—they don’t consider God’s word important. Why? Jesus said the deceitfulness of riches choke out the word, and they becomes unfruitful (Matthew 13:22). Power, riches (greed), worldly pleasures and toys are their passions, and they don’t have time for a close relationship with Jesus Christ and His word, and they neglect the priority of eternal life in God’s heaven.
“For he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 1:24). It’s easy for Christians to forget the warnings in God’s word about chasing the pleasures and things of this world. Moses said, “Watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:12). “But they did not remember the multitude of God’s mercies, and rebelled by the Red Sea…They quickly forgot God’s works” (Psalm 106:7, 13). David wrote, “Forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2-3). God promises lovingkindness to those who remember His precepts to do them (Psalm 103:18b). Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) Not knowing and understanding God’s word is our own fault; it’s a choice we have made for our self!
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it” (James 1:25a). “Looks” is from the Greek word “parakypto” which means to stoop down (humble one’s self), examine with care and precision, and thoroughly understand God’s word. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life according to God’s law, and died as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:29) and fulfilled God’s law (Matthew 5:17). When we sin we ask for forgiveness and we are forgiven (1 John 1:9). Paul said there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Christians are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, and allow God’s word to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2). Peter said, “He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God’” (1 Peter 1:15-16, 23). It’s every Christian’s duty to live our life to please God!
“And is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25b). James’ emphasis is don’t be a forgetful hearer of God’s divine truth and live our life according to God’s word. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31-32); “Abide” means to make Jesus’ words a part of your life! Joshua told the Hebrew people to meditate on God’s word day and night and do according to all that is written in it, and they would be prosperous, and have good success (Joshua 1:8). God promises that if we will read, study, and mediate on God’s word, and live our life to please God, we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever we do shall prosper (Psalm 1:3). “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1).
The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The average reader can read through the Bible in about 3200 minutes, or about 54 hours, or about 9 minutes a day. The wisdom within the Bible on how to live our life while we’re on this earth is truly amazing. The Bible tells us how to make, save, and donate our money, how to relate to government, employers, and employees, how to treat the poor and rich, and how to relate to our wife/husband, children, friends, and even our enemies. But the most important thing about the Bible is that it tells humans how to have a personal relationship with God. The first verse in the Bible is about God, and the last verse in the Bible is about Jesus Christ. Between those two verses is everything we need to know about God and Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Your eternal destiny depends on your decision about Jesus Christ!