James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
God’s Word is given to us in order that we may learn the truth and follow the truth. God’s purpose for us in following His truth is to make us free (John 8:31) from sin, guilt and the past life that has been a load and a burden to us. It also helps us become more like the Lord Jesus, more loving in our actions, kinder in our words and more helpful with our hands. In order for the truth to help us in our lives, we have to actively apply the word of God to our lives. If you are tempted to steal, having learned God’s word and knowing it teaches “thou shalt not steal”, you would follow the Word of God with your heart and not steal. In teaching the Jewish believers, what was James’ counsel about the word of God?
He counseled them to do the word of God, not just be a hearer of it
“Doers” means a performer. A performer has a script to act out. He studies the script, understands the script, commits the script to memory and then, in rehearsals, acts out the script. What an apt description of a Christian doer! We have the script of God’s word: we are to learn it, understand it, commit it to memory and act on it. We are to obey it the way it is written so that we may be versed in the Word. The performer is ready to act on the script as it is presented to him. The hearer, on the other hand, merely listens to the word. After hearing the word, He goes away and forgets what he hears, and the Word has no effect on him, his mind, his heart and his life. Is it possible that this is why many Christians remain unchanged and unmoved in their lives? They do not become more like Christ, but more like the world, simply because they do what comes naturally?
He tells them that they will deceive themselves otherwise
“Deceiving your own selves.”
Deception is defined as misleading an individual from the right and proper way, direction or situation. Self-deception will then be defined as misleading oneself from the right and the proper way, direction or situation. Why do people not want to walk in the way of the truth but choose to deceive themselves? Do we know the truth of God’s Word in the different situations? Are we willing to walk consistent with that? If not, we are deceiving ourselves.
He counsels them that knowing what is right to do but not doing it is sin
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
When we have heard the truth, we are accountable for what we have heard. It is an important principle that God holds us accountable for what we have heard. Listen to the words of our blessed Saviour
Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind (we did not know in the first place), ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Our Saviour counsels us that in obedience to God’s word there are blessings
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
When the Lord was exalted by a lady who blessed the woman who bore the Lord Jesus, our Saviour told the lady that the person who keeps and obeys the word of God is more blessed. The Lord Jesus places a high regard on obedience to the Word of GOD.
Are we obeying the word of God? God promises blessings for those who do. Will you be a doer of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves?
Evangelist-Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church