Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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

But don't - Another admonition is coming.  James isn't letting up.  I wander at his emotions while writing.  Was he worked up, feverishly scratching the pen across the paper as the Spirit brought him words?  That sounds good, so I'll just believe it :).

just listen to God's word - Following up from verse 21, where the word is planted by God in our hearts, here "word" does indeed seem to be Scripture.  I always wonder at passages in the New Testament that reference the "word" or "Word".  What was the writer intending?  Regardless of present day application, was he meaning just the Old Testament, the Old Testament and writings that were already in circulation, or was he prophetically reaching into the future's consolidation of the Canon?  Either way, he's saying that we shouldn't just listen to God's word in the same way my daughter listens when I tell her to go clean her room.  10 minutes later she's still dancing on the ottoman making up a song. 

You must - This is the Holy Bible, and the words "you must" are not negotiable.  Lends some weight to what's coming up.

do what it says - We must do what the word says.  Again, non-negotiable.  The hard and the easy, the good and the, well, not as good (at least to us and our carnal nature).  Jesus said it, "If you love me, obey my commandments."   But even as I look at that immense wall of "I Can't" that accompanies "You must", I feel his Spirit tugging me with, "My grace is sufficient."  Grace is not an excuse for sin, or for lack of effort.  But it is the balm that sooths the weary spirit.  It's the second wind in the race of our lives.  He commands that we must, but he provides that we can.

Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves - I've feared some days that I was running this race in vain.  Paul feared it (Gal 2:2).  James feared it from his audience here.  Let's not fool ourselves.  It brings back to me a song from my early years in the Holiness churches of the East Tennessee mountains:

Guide my feet Lord,
While I run this race.
Oh guide my feet Lord,
While I run this race.
Guide my feet Lord,
While I run this race.
Cause Lord I don't want to run this race in vain.

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