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.
James 1:22-25 (NIV)
As I was asking God what word He had for me this year (which I asked hesitantly because my word for 2018 was “uncomfortable” so I flinched as I asked what 2019 had in store for me). The word I heard was short, two letters. DO. I was excited because my mind immediately went to something ridiculous like “do the miraculous” or “do great and mighty works”. I am a “doer” naturally. I do not sit idle, I do not get “bored” if I am I will find something to do. I get tasks done. I “do”. So when God said “DO” I was like, “doing is my power zone, I am going to completely CRUSH 2019!” but God put the above scripture on my heart, verse 22 in particular. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Here’s the funny thing about being a believer and follower of Jesus. If we aren’t careful we can slowly fall into the category of those who merely hear the Word and not do what it says anymore. I believe this is a slow drift and occurs over a long period of time. You see, I would say I am a professional at “hearing” the Word. I graduated from Bible college, I know a lot of stuff about the Bible and I can pull out information you would want to know about super random facts. I work at my church, I am at every church service and I hear every sermon. I hear a LOT. When it comes to the “doing” part I would give myself a ‘D’. I pray, I am planted in the church, I am in community, we tithe, I read my Bible but I would admit that I am not consistent in the doing in so many other areas.
Have you read the stuff written in this book? It’s challenging. It’s difficult. It requires sacrifice and a lot of times it’s inconvenient. When you are actively doing what is written in the Bible you don’t have time to focus on the pettiness around you. We will find ourselves knee deep in the crap of life and have very little time to be a victim because we are too busy pulling people out of hell.
To be 100% transparent with all of you, walking with hurting people is hard for me. I do have feelings but they confuse me, I am a problem solver so when I can’t solve their hurt a lot of times my natural lean is to withdraw and shut down. I don’t intend to be mean, I don’t mean to hurt that person but walking with them would require me to let me walls down and potentially get hurt.
This is an area I am hyper aware of that I need to just “do”. Jesus walked with the hurting and He got hurt but that never deterred Him from being completely present in the midst of other people’s pain. I don’t really like feelings…as soon as someone wants to talk about feelings I will create a task list for them to stop feeling all of those feelings LOL! I wasn’t raised to talk about feelings, instead we made jokes and laughed it off…a habit I still do today. If you want tension broken in a room I’m your girl.
In verse 25 it says, “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 think in the doing of what we have heard we will build a relationship with the Author, and from that relationship we will be blessed. Blessed with deeper relationships with those around us. Blessed with compassion for the hurting. Blessed with joy when we celebrate with those who celebrate. Blessed with a higher way of thinking. Blessed with freedom. Blessed with depth. Blessed with peace. Blessed with a full life poured out.
Maybe you thrive in the area of people, but maybe you find your weak spot is gossip, or cussing or drinking too much or lying or living a promiscuous life. I think we can all afford to “do” more of what is written in the Bible. It’s words were not written to keep us from living a “fun” life but they were written to keep us on His path and live lives according to His will because let’s be honest, our will gets us into trouble and we end up living way beneath our full potential.
Actively doing what is written in these pages requires intentionality. It requires focus. It requires a steadfastness. What would our lives look like if we actually walked out what was written in His word? How different would our families look? How different would our jobs look? How different would our marriages look? How different would the world look around us? We each have been given a sphere on influence, not for our fame but to introduce and point those people to Jesus. What if our lives reflected Jesus, how would that impact those people God has given us influence with?
I am looking forward to this year's focus. I am excited to become a better friend, actually hug people and not get weird, really feel feelings and not short out, and become a doer of what this Word is actually telling us to do. Life is so much more than “stuff” and climbing this ladder we all think we need to climb. Life is about Jesus and Jesus was about people so we should also be about people. All people, in all conditions, loving them the way He does…which is hard but He promises we will be blessed in what we do.
What is your focus for 2019?