… Do It!
The sermon at Emmanuel Baptist Church yesterday went through a passage in the book of James. In the passage, James talks about being doers and not just hearers. As I listened, I realized there are a lot of parallels to everyday life, not just in our spiritual walks. The sermon applies to personal relationships, hobbies, business, and more.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22
One that that tends to confuse people about this are the choice of words used. Directly translated they make sense, but if we understand the words and how they were used in the original language, it opens up quite a bit more to the passage.
When We Are Hearers
The passage talks about two things: hearing and doing. But the order is reversed in how they occur. First you hear, and then you do. But it’s not just hearing that is being talked about in this context.
I can hear a lot. I hear my son playing in the other room. I can hear a lecture on organic chemistry. I hear people talking in other languages. Hearing isn’t the issue, because just about everyone can hear. What is really being discussed is hearing and understanding.
When James tells us not to be hearers only, he tells us to make sure that we hear and understand. It’s your quiet time in the morning. You read the Bible, meditate on what it says, pray to God for understanding. Your mind is transformed and you understand what is going on.
When We Are Doers
But the Bible is so much more than a book to be heard and understood! It has application to our daily lives, and it was written in a way that we should do what we read about, not just meditate on it and learn from it.
By being doers, we actually learn far more than if we are hearers only. We can understand and fully grasp certain concepts when we finally apply them to our lives. Here’s how that translates into different areas.
Learning from Doing
Suppose you want to play football. You watch every video known to man, you read about all the different plays. You know the history of the sport, and you can calculate stats and probabilities with ease. But you have never touched a football, let alone set foot on a field. Are you a good football player? Chances are you will be the worst one out there when it comes time for the big game! You know everything there is to know about football, but have never applied it. You deceive yourself into thinking that you’re abilities are there.
Maybe you’re going to be a parent soon. Perhaps you researched parenting, read tons of books on the subject, talked with other parents, and you even babysat for multiple different ages. You think you have it pretty well figured out, so when your child comes into the world it’s going to be a piece of cake. When the baby is born, you suddenly realize that nothing in those books works, and the kids you babysat are completely different. You can only learn to parent by being a parent. You have deceived yourself.
What if you’re starting a business? You can get a lot of tips and tricks by researching online. You can shadow those in various stages of their business. You can learn all about SEO and digital marketing. But when it comes time to start your business, you realize there are no clear answers (for a great book on how there are no clear answers, check out The Hard Thing about Hard Things). You learn business by being in business.
Moving Beyond Being a Hearer
So how do we become doers? How do we move past just acquiring knowledge for the sake of acquiring knowledge?
The answer lies in asking for it. In your morning routine, when hearing God’s word, ask Him to open up opportunities where you can put into practice what he tells you.
- Opportunities to talk to others about him. Matthew 28:19-20
- Opportunities to help those in need. Galatians 6:2
- Opportunities to give your time. Matthew 5:42
- Opportunities to clothe, feed, and provide shelter. Matthew 25:35
- Opportunities to Love. John 15:12
Most of us have been blessed beyond the wildest dreams of many others. Are we using God’s gifts to us appropriately, or are we hoarding them for ourselves? This holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on into the new year, let’s make the commitment to ensure that life isn’t just about us. Let’s not just be hearers, let’s be doers and see how the Lord blesses our actions.