"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Soul Food : Do What It Says

 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

- James 1 : 22

This is our portion of scripture for this week.
This verse describes what many Christians have become or are these days : We hear but we do not imitate. We know but we do not act. 

Many go to church, many listen to sermons, many are warned but they do not act upon the word that is given them. Brother James clearly says such people are deceiving themselves, no one else. If you hear the word but do not obey it, you are only deceiving yourself. But, doesn't it sound ridiculous? How can you call yourself a Christian and hear God's word but do not imitate it? It's like saying while filling out a form, instead of putting the names of your parents, you put another couple's name even though you know who your real parents are. It's that ridiculous. Even brother James likened it to "someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like" (James 1 : 23 - 24)
We are supposed to mirror Christ...Whenever we look ourselves in the mirror of our hearts, we are supposed to see Christ. The mirror in brother James' metaphor is the word of God and the image is Jesus. When we look into the word, we see Christ and we are supposed to imitate Him and become like Him so that when God looks into us, He sees Jesus, our role model

So therefore, let us ask ourselves why so many do not obey the word of God or practice what they hear?

Verse 24 of James 1 suggests that they forget. But how can we forget the word of God? The answer to that is this : the word of God is misplaced and is not the priority. Do you forget your birthday, or your wedding anniversary or all your important meetings? I doubt it. So why forget the word of God? The word of God is supposed to be central in our lives, it is supposed to be the foundation. As Christians, we are to breath and live through the word of God. Even Jesus said in John 14 : 23 "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." So that means, whoever does not obey the word of God does not love God and therefore, God does not live in that person. This makes total sense because if you really love God like you should, you will not forget His word.

The parable of the sower gives other explanations to why Christians do not apply the word of God in their lives :

Matthew 13 : 19 speaks about how when one hears the word but does not understand it, the devil comes and steal it from them. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent truth in the church. Many christians lack understanding over even the littlest truths. It is true what Hosea 4 : 6 says "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." Many are perishing today because of lack of knowledge. Remember "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding" (Proverbs 4 : 7) and "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1 : 5)

 Matthew 13 : 20 tells us about those that immediately receive the word with joy but when faced with trials they fall away because they have no root. This refers to new converts that are not yet really rooted in Christ. When trouble comes, the word is useless to them because they are not yet really rooted in Christ. This reveals the fact that it truly takes the Spirit of God and His guidance to be fully apply His word in our lives. Our will is not enough. That is the plain truth and God's word does not seek our permission; we cannot say of the flesh "yes this part of the word I accept and this one seems fair so therefore I embrace it". It is of the Spirit and it is through the Spirit that we should accept and obey God's word.

 Matthew 13 : 22 reveals another set of people who hear the word but the word has no place in them because their heart and lives is already filled with things of the world. This refers to a whole bunch of people. We hear the word but because we chase after money and lust after the evil pleasures of the world, the word of God is literally "choked" out of us. Imagine that. That means instead of planting God's word in their lives, these people plant thorns and you all know how thorns are harmful.  Even Jesus said in John 12 : 25 " Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

Now, after looking at why Christians do not follow God's word, let us look at the consequences of exercising God's word in our lives.

 James 1 : 25 answers the question "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."
Blessings. That's the consequence of being obedient to God's word. 
Brothers and sisters, let's not be just hearers but rather, hearers and doers for it holds great recompense. If you are determined to only hear God's word and not apply it in your life or rather you are bent on pretending you are applying it well, let me just let you know that God cannot be mocked, and you will reap what you sow (Galatians 6 : 7). I encourage you all dearest beloved to hold on the word of God because it is life itself (John 6 : 63) and without it, you cannot stand the whiles of the devil because it is a component of the armor that God has given us to stand (Ephesians 6 : 13 - 17). 

It is not so hard to follow God's word but before we can be able to, we need to totally let go of all the things of this word and submit to Him.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16 : 24)
There is no other way. Please note that the denial comes before anything else but the decision is the number one thing. When you let go of the load of this world, then you can carry the cross of Christ and follow only Him.

I sincerely pray that God will give us the will to follow is word and give us the grace to use the Spirit in applying His word for every part of our lives, on a daily basis.
[For more on submission, please read this post and this one too]


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