“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:22-25
With all of the free time I have as an adult, one of my favorite hobbies is playing video games. Do not get me wrong, I am a social butterfly, but now and then, nothing compares to sitting around for a few hours focused on a great game. My childhood has been coming back thanks to all of the remastering of Crash Bandicoot games, and I could not be more excited! If I am not playing a good adventure mode game, I will fire up NBA 2K17. I am not making enough money yet to justify keeping up with the latest edition, so I keep playing the 2017 version until the big money comes in.
In this game, you can create your own character and live out the dream of being drafted by an NBA team, and pursue the Hall of Fame. It is funny how getting skilled at a video game about basketball will suddenly give you the misguided confidence that those same skills could translate to real life. Now, we all know my 5'8 height is the only holdback to my NBA career, but merely being good at a video game about basketball does not make me a basketball player. The skills I have in the game end when I turn off my PS4. They don't make their way onto the actual court.
I believe this example helps brings some clarity to being a hearer of the word versus a doer. As a hearer of the word, I would sit through a teaching, a sermon, or a Bible study, and think to myself, "I can do that stuff," or "Oh, I definitely need to be the one sharing the light of Jesus to the world." But when I leave the teaching, sermon, or Bible study, life goes on as usual. I heard the life change I could make, I could even think about it for a second, but ultimately it did not translate in any way to my life.
We are not promised to be perfect doers of God's word. If we could achieve perfection, we wouldn't need to depend upon the Holy Spirit. God has enough grace to cover every single attempt of someone who is a doer of His word, but we have to attempt to be doers. For those of us who never make the move from hearer to doer, we are not going to see God's work on full display.
God does not need us to be doers for Him to have an impact; He is God and can surely leave an impact whenever He desires. Instead, by challenging us to be doers, He is giving us an invitation to work alongside Him.
For someone, such as myself who struggles with a performance driven mentality, there is freedom knowing my ability to succeed as a doer does not change God's love for me. God is not asking me to be a doer, only to be disappointed when I cannot do it well enough. He is inviting me to be a doer so I can see His power working within me.
Not to rip off Nike, but the lesson to learn is pretty simple: we just have to do it. As we continue to learn more about Jesus, either through worship, the Bible, or teachings, we need to put what we hear into action. The world has lots of ears hearing about Jesus, but what good does hearing do when it only stays in our heads? The difference maker is when we take action about what we hear and become a doer. The world needs to see Jesus' words and teachings in action. Not everyone we come across will go to our church, but they can see what we are doing.
Think about putting what you hear about Jesus into action. What impact could these actions have in the lives around you?
Father, thank you for giving me the undeserved chance to come alongside Your kingdom work. Help me learn how to move from a hearer to a doer. I know Your grace will be with me as I put Your teachings into action, and I know Your Spirit will be revealed to those who see it. Thank you for Your goodness and mercy and I pray in Your holy name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.