Verse: James 1:22-25 ESV
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
When we think of reading the Bible as a part of our Christian walk, does it feel like a box that we check off, or does it feel like an opportunity for God to change our hearts? If I’m being transparent, I teeter between the two. There are admittedly times where I say, “Well I know I’m supposed to so I guess I can set aside 20 mins, then I’ll…(fill in the blank).” Little do I realize that I am missing out on so much when this is my mindset.
I really love what the Amplified version of the Bible adds to verse 22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].”
One of the most important things to remember when reading the Scripture is that it is FOR US. It was never meant to be a check of a box, instead it is a spiritual discipline to understand who God is and to let Him change us. John Piper, a theologian and pastor wrote, “A godly life is lived out of an astonished heart – a heart that is astonished at grace. We go to the Bible to be astonished, to be amazed at God, Christ, the cross, grace, and the gospel.” Before we can be ready to succeed in the application, or being “doers of the word,” we have to first learn how to be astonished by Him.
While the Bible is FOR us, it is ABOUT God. From Genesis to Revelation, He is revealed on every page. Often we go to scripture to let it reveal who we are or to tell us what we should do. We often spend the most time searching the scriptures when we are looking for something, or are in need of help. The interesting thing is that if you really read it, He gently points the narrative back to himself every time. In Exodus when God revealed himself to Moses in the form of a burning bush, Moses was still full of questions that were self-focused. God responds by saying, “I Am.” That’s the only answer that Moses needed. Our brokenness, fears, and pride aren’t going to resolve if we can’t get over our self-focused questioning. Knowing who God is will then reveal who He has made us to be. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self go hand-in-hand.
“There can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God. He is the only reference point that is reliable. When I read that God is long-suffering, I realize that I am not long-suffering. When I read that God is slow to anger, I realize that I am quick to anger. When I read that God is just, I realize that I am unjust. Seeing who He is shows me who I am in a true light. A vision of God high and lifted up reveals to me my sin and increases my love for Him. Grief and love lead to genuine repentance, and I begin to be conformed to the image of the One I behold.” -Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word
I will be the first to admit that I fail to behold Him. I rush in, ready for answers and forget to behold the One that I love. Spiritual practices are called such because it requires dedication to make it a part of your routine. Practice is required in order to be better at something. I would encourage you to practice this and see what you find out about the Lord. Press the Scriptures close to your heart so that you may become whom you behold.
Thank you, God for continually revealing the mystery of who you are through your Word. Give us a love and a passion for scripture. Instead of seeking to find we can get out of it for us, let us first ask what we can learn about you. Since we can’t love something we don’t know, reveal to us who you are. We want to learn, to behold and be astonished by you. As we come to understand more of who you are, change us and equip us for application. Let your scripture be profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Let. us be doers of the Word as James teaches us to be. Prepare us to live righteously by working on our hearts through pondering and meditation on your word. Let our application come out of how you have changed us. We need you desperately. Thank you for being the I AM who is sovereign over us while also being a Father teaching His children who they are. We love you above all. Amen.
Author: Jillian Tulowitzky