22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
I’ve never been a fan of wearing socks and shoes. As soon as it warms up, I will be in the office with bare feet. As a kid I used to ride my bike around with bare feet as well. A friend of mine was with me riding bikes and he wanted to run into the corner store for a snack. The sign on the door said we had to have shoes and shirts on. He said it didn’t matter. Just run in with your bare feet. I saw the sign, but went in anyway.
I read the sing, but didn’t do what it said. This is not to promote a legalistic way of reading the Bible, but to promote the understanding that James gives here. The point of the sign was that it is unsanitary to walk in stores with bare feet. It is for the good of me and for the good of others. James is telling us that when we read the words from God in the Bible we should be doing what they say. Not out of blind obedience, but because it is good for us and good for others.
So when he is telling us not to just read the words, but do what they say, he is telling us that the words need to become part of us. Not just get into our eyes and ears, but it should change our minds and our hearts. When the words get to the core of our being, when they change who we are, then we act in ways that follow the words of God. God’s words are meant to change us, and by changing us we live out of who we are becoming as we continue to hear and read God’s words.
Hear God’s words, take them in your heart and your mind and be changed. And then we will live as God’s people, living as he leads and calls us.
Song – Change My Heart O God
Lord our God, we ask that we be changed by your words living in us. As we read your words and hear your words, let your Holy Spirit work in us to be changed to be your people, hearing you and following you in al of life. Amen.