Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Too many times we “talk our faith” but we don’t really “walk our faith”. It is easy to be a Christian on Sundays when you are surrounded by other Christians. It’s easy when you are in God’s house.
The true test of our faith begins when we are out in the world. Our faith isn’t just about how well we do church or how often we do church. It’s about what we DO with the way we ‘do church’.
A real faith requires action. Rather than our life impacting our faith, it’s about our faith impacting every part of our life!
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19)
In this verse, James gives us some very simple instructions. Simple yet powerful. Easy to understand but so vitally important to our walk.
1. Listen well (be a good listener)
2. Be slow to speak. (listen first)
3. Do not fight (slow to anger)
You notice that James puts the importance of hearing first. It is so important that we learn to listen well. Too many times we listen and don’t hear. Somebody talks to us and when they finish, we realize that we haven’t heard a word that they said to us! My kids sometimes would be talking and I would think I was listening and then they would be saying, “well..???” and I would realize that they asked me a question and guess what… I wasn’t really listening.
We are guilty of this in reading God’s word. He is speaking to us when we read, but we have to “listen” intently with our hearts to what He is saying through the written word. If we want to hear what God is saying, we have to be listening.
We also need to be slow to speak. I think this is so we will be better hearers. We will heed His word better, when we listen better and speak less. Amen??
We also need to be slow to anger. I think that speaks for itself. Anger is an emotion that is based on selfishness. Anger is really about “us” and our desires or lack of desire. Anger is about the flesh. If we are slow to speak, then sometimes that will take care of the anger problem. It gives us time to regroup and get our thoughts lined up with God.
In verse 21 he tells us that we need to lay all moral impurities aside. Moral impurity stems from living in the flesh and not the Spirit. When we focus on the flesh, it’s because we have NOT surrendered to God and His plan for us. We aren’t letting God meet our needs so we turn to our fleshly desires which can lead to impure actions and our own destruction.
The end of that verse talks about receiving the implanted Word. We can certainly read the Word and not actually receive it into our hearts. Just like the example in verse 23 of looking into a mirror and then walking away - forgetting what we look like. It’s because we didn’t really ‘receive’ what we were seeing. We just took a passing glance at the reflection. We just skimmed the surface.
That’s what we are guilty of in God’s word. We just take a passing glance at it and don’t devour it and soak it in and receive it FULLY! We have to live what we believe. Our faith is about a relationship - not just a religion. We have to be doers. We have to actually do something about our faith. We don’t want to be guilty of the passing glance, but move on to the deep stare. We can certainly have a deep knowledge of the Word, but if we don’t apply it and live it, we are accomplishing nothing in our lives.
We are most affected by the Word of God when we dig deep into His Word and then translate what we learned into our lives. Our faith has to be walked and not just talked. We have to hold captive what we are gleaning from His Word. Actually ‘do’ the Word. Live it abundantly - stay in front of the mirror of His Word so we don’t forget what we are seeing.
We must let it penetrate our hearts and saturate our souls. It will then spur us into the action of living our faith out! It will spur us into living what we believe!
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)
The power of our faith is validated by our works. When we truly comprehend the meaning of our faith - we are just eager to do good works! We are ready to put our faith into action! Let’s examine our lives and see if our faith is being perfected or if we are just going through the motions.