What does it mean to be Doers of the Word? (James 1:22)
One of the major complaints about Christianity from the secular world is that many church-goers do not practice what they preach.
One of the unfortunate reasons why Christians are accused of hypocrisy is because many Christians or church-goers do not actively obey the very Bible they claim to read or follow.
James 1:22 says: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James instructs us to practice what we claim to believe. As Christians we are expected to live a life of obedience to the very Bible we claim to follow. Therefore it is not enough to only hear the word being taught or preached; it is not enough to only read the Bible. Instead what must follow after hearing and reading the Bible is obedience and personal application of the Scriptures in our daily life.
James 1:22 informs that if we are hearers of the word but not doers, then we are deceiving ourselves. Hearing and not obeying not only exposes our deception, but it makes us look like hypocrites.
Obedience to the word of God is an active and practical expression of our love for God.
In several Scriptures God connects our obedience to His word with our love for Him.
In John 14:15 Jesus says “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
In John 14:23-24 Jesus says “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”
1 John 5:2-3 says: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Therefore we cannot claim to love God if we do not desire to obey Him.
Do you know your identity and your convictions?
James 1:23-24 says: 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. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
James 1:23-24 means that people who are hearers but not doers of the word are like people who don’t really know or understand their identity. The word that they hear does not lead to personal change and spiritual growth because they do not meditate nor apply and obey it. They have no solid personal convictions. They have no solid values or foundations upon which they stand.
In Matthew 7:21-27 Jesus says that not everyone who says not everyone who says to Him: “’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus then explains that “everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” and despite the external forces of nature, that house and foundation stood its ground.
Then Jesus says that “everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Therefore Jesus was teaching that obedience to the will of God is critical in our Christian walk. If we claim to believe in Christ, then we must desire to be doers of His word and not just hearers.
God’s word is meant to change us and equip us
James 1:25 says: 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 1:25 means that if we study God’s word and meditate on it with the determination to obey it, then we will be blessed in what we do.
The purpose of God’s word is not only to inform us, but the Scriptures are meant to bring change in our life whenever we walk in obedience to His word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
The word of God is our instruction book for life. The Bible is where we grow in our knowledge of God. The Bible is the place where we learn what God expects from us.
Our expression of love is connected to our willingness to obey God’s word. We avoid accusations of hypocrisy when we obey the word of God.
We must therefore be encouraged to walk in obedience daily so that God is glorified and the Gospel of Christ can be revealed to the world.