Just Do it!
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers …” James 1:22 (NASB)
I sat on the edge of the exam table, watching the doctor flip through a few pages of paper.
I remember being a little girl and actually enjoying my visits to the doctor. It meant a break from school and best of all, I always left with a lollipop in my hands.
This time there would be no lollipop, but there would be a lecture.
While there was nothing life-threatening happening in my body, many of the numbers my doctor reviewed were headed in the wrong direction. And she made sure to kindly, but pointedly, bring to my attention that I was no longer a spring chicken and that I needed to get my act together or else I’d have regrets as time went on.
Ugh. How depressing. I mean who wants to hear they’re not a spring chicken?
But the worst of it? I know better.
Of course I know that the food choices I make can affect my overall health, but it still remains such a battle.
Can I just keep it real for a second?
I love food.
But the food I love, doesn’t always love me back.
The message on that sheet of paper in my doctor’s hand was not a love letter but more like a letter of warning reminding me to get my act together.
And it’s not like I don’t know what to do; I just don’t always do it.
I’ve read about making better food choices in books and magazines. I’ve had many discussions with friends and family on wellness. I’ve listened to radio shows and heard experts share tips for living a healthy lifestyle. Truth be told, I think I’ve watched almost every season of The Biggest Loser!
Ugh! Why is it so hard to know what to do — and then actually do it?
The problem I face in my physical life is one I also face often in my spiritual life.
I’ve read about making better choices in the Bible, Christian books and devotionals. I’ve had many discussions with friends and family on spiritual well-being. Listened to more sermons, radio programs and podcasts than I can count. Truth be told, I think I’ve had a front row seat at church almost every single Sunday morning of my life!
Yet … knowing and doing are not the same thing.
When James wrote his epistle, or letter, to the Jewish believers, he was writing to encourage them during a time of great hardship and tribulation. It wasn’t easy to be a believer because Christians were persecuted for choosing to follow the message and person of Jesus Christ.
While faith in Jesus Christ served as the first and most important step in the life of a believer, James wanted Christians to understand that works of obedience should also accompany faith in the Savior:“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24, ESV).
Even though it would be hard, James encouraged believers to “work out” what they believed — for their actions to match their beliefs. He didn’t want them to simply understand the truth, he wanted their lives to be a demonstration of a truth that was active in their hearts, minds, souls and feet.
Knowing about healthy choices doesn’t equal me actually making those choices and therefore reaping the full benefit of a healthy body.
And knowing about life in Jesus Christ doesn’t equal me actually making the choice to obey His Word and therefore reaping the benefit of a healthy soul.
As James reminds us in today’s key verse, I must be more than a hearer, reader, discusser, watcher. I must be a doer.
God wants more than for us to have a simple awareness of His instructions. He wants us to obey Him and to do what He says — both for His glory and our good. His instructions may not always be easy but this much is clear: He wants us to hear His Word and just do it.
Dear Father, forgive me for the areas in my life that I tend not to walk in full obedience to You. I’m sorry for not being willing to fully trust You enough to obey You. Help me put what You have taught me into practice. I want to please You and I want Your best for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 11:28b, “… ‘Happy rather are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’” (CEB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what areas do you find it most difficult to be obedient to God? What’s one thing you can do today to begin walking in obedience?
What tips can you share with others for studying, knowing and understanding God’s Word? Your tips might encourage someone else in their walk.