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This week we continue our series from the book of James titled The practical Expression of Our Faith in Daily Living.
Today we are talking about How to Practice Your Faith.
James 1:22 AMP
But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].
James 1:22-27 (AMP)
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].
23 For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like.
25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious [scrupulously observant of the rituals of his faith], and does not control his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless (futile, barren).
27 Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world.
In Jesus name we pray.
There is not doubt that James, in addition to writing this epistle under divine inspiration, was also drawing on a rich background of experience.
James was a Pastor, and he had opportunity to observe firsthand the different ways in which Christians practiced their faith.
He had seen some of the people develop disappointing and even dangerous habits in regard to their “profession” and their “practice.”
In our text, James made a proposition, provided an illustration, and drew an application about how to practically apply our faith.
- James made a proposition.
In the previous passage, specifically in verse 19, James told us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
He was talking about hearing the Word of truth.
But now he is calling our attention to a great danger of which we must be aware in this “swift hearing.”
- We are not to make the hearing of the Word an end in itself.
James was talking about Christians who love to hear the Word but never getting around to putting it into practice.
B. Christians fall into two categories when it comes to this issue.
- Some Christians faithfully listen to the Word and even feel a spiritual high because of what they hear, but they never apply the truth of God’s Word to their lives.
2. Other Christians, a distressingly small percentage of the whole, receive the Word with joy and allow it to be disseminated into their life and behaviour.
C. James’ exhortation is significant.
He said “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.”
The tense is present imperative, which suggests continuity.
Literally, it means, “keep in being doers of the Word” in one action.
A process of development and growth in involved.
Many Christians are like posts instead of trees.
If we plant a tree, it begins to grow, if we set a post, it begins to decay.
D. “Doers of the Word” naturally take on the characteristics of their Lord.
Doers of the Word are those who take the truth of God and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, translate in into everyday, practical illustrations of what God can and will do in someones life.
2. James provided an illustration.
- The illustration is that of a man looking at himself in a mirror and walking away, immediately forgetting what he looks like.
Christians who merely hear the Word of God do something similar to this.
They hear the word but soon forget it, and it has no influence on them.
James implied that the Word of God was like a spiritual mirror to a person’s soul.
When Christians look into the mirror of the Word, they see the correct and complete delineation of the souls.
They see the areas that need to be altered or cleansed.
B. The mirror of the Word has a dimension that is not found in an ordinary mirror.
God’s Word not only shows us where we are, it shows what we can become.
There is an interesting play on words here.
The word in verse 24 translated “behold” suggests a passing glance, without any serious intention to profit from what he sees.
But the word translated “look into” in verse 25 has the sense of looking carefully, closely, seriously.
He same word is used in John 20:5 to describe John as he stooped down to look into the empty tomb.
The word suggests a searching inspection of something.
C. Why did James call this “mirror of the Word” the “perfect law of liberty”?
He called it the law because it is the standard by which the Christian life is regulated and directed.
And by liberty, James meant that it is a law that gives spiritual freedom to those who bring themselves under its authority.
3. James drew an application.
He gave three examples of the practice of the Word.
First, he mentioned the bridling of the tongue in verse 26.
James wa talking about carelessness in conversation.
To bridle is to restrain, to discipline, to curb.
The imagery he used indicates that the tongue is like an unruly horse that needs a bit and bridle to check its wild tendencies.
In verse 27 James gave two more examples of practicing one’s faith, having compassion for the needy, and living an unstained life.
He didn’t give an all inclusive definition of religion here.
Instead, he was simply saying that the externals of worshipper unacceptable to God unless they are accompanied by loving service and a holy life.
Jesus said that we are to be in the world but not of the world.
The proper place for a ship is to be in the water, but if the water gets in the ship, it sinks.
The proper place for Christians to be is in the world, but if the world gets into Christians, they sink to the depths of unhappiness and sin.
It is only as believers practice their faith that they are set in contrast to the world and its standards.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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