Tuesday, April 19, 2011
hearing the truth & living it out
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.
The New Testament epistle of James is rich in application. There is a lot of encouragement, and a lot of shocking application packed into the pages of this book. James' main thrust is a practical Christian faith that lives out the content of its faith. James balances clear doctrine with real life commitment. It is not enough to just say what one believes. A person must live it if Christ is truly Lord over them.
This verse in particular shows that a necessary consequence of knowing what the scriptures teach is a lifestyle of persevering obedience to that teaching. It is not just about looking in the book, or hearing it taught. It is about acting on it and finding your life blessed in the outcome of that new life that comes upon that commitment. So many times in the church we are guilty of only making another occasion for the "hearing" of the truth, and not the required action accountability for Christians to "do" what they say they believe.
Do I long for God's blessing on my life? It must come through doing what the Word teaches. I am blessed by obedience, not just by knowledge. I am thrilled to understand the Word of God, but I have not truly understood it if I look into it, forget its application, and then live like it makes no difference. Instead, it is in the application and obedience to the Word of God that truth makes a change in me that blesses my life. And it is that active change that gets the attention of others around me.
The reality is that truth makes me radical. I get out of my comfort zone. It is not about trivia, but testing the truth. It is not about facts, but the steps and activities that follow from belief in the facts. It is not only about doctrine, but also about delighting in dutiful obedience. That is change. Jesus wants to transform us, not just rename us. He makes no apathetic new creation. He puts us into an active relationship with Him as we follow where He leads. I must hear and understand the truth. The proof of that understanding is living it out for His glory and praise!
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13