Hearers vs. Doers

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 (James 1:22-25).

It’s easy to forget things sometimes. You lose your keys. You lose your phone. You lose you coat. You lose that book that you read a long time ago. It’s easy to forget.

But what if your forgetting became more serious. Sometimes this is called amnesia. This is when you can’t remember large portions of your life for a period of time. Some people completely forget who they are! This is very scary and painful for the person and their loved ones.

In our verse for today James is talking about a type of spiritual amnesia. He says that if we only hear God’s word but don’t actually do anything with it we are like a person who looks at themselves in the mirror but then can’t remember what they truly look like. It would be like someone coming up to you and commenting about how they love your new haircut and you then respond, “Haircut? What haircut? I didn’t know I had a new haircut!” Wouldn’t that be odd? How could someone just forget something like that?

James is making the same point here. He is saying that it is quite odd (or a better word might be sinful) for someone to spend many hours listening to sermons, reading good Christian books, and reading the Bible and then living their lives in a way that gives the impression that they had never done any of that. Wouldn’t you think that odd?

James is making the point that if we hear and then do, meaning, act upon what we are learned, we will be blessed. We will have joy. We will be satisfied. But if we just listen and listen and listen, but never actually do anything with what have gleaned from God’s word, we’ll be like fools who can’t remember their own haircut.

Read Ephesians 4:1-3
• In these verses does Paul tell us to just listen or to do something else?
• In what ways do you need to grow in becoming a doer and not just a listener?

Our Father, help us to live our lives in such a way that we demonstrate that we love the truth that you have revealed to us. Apart from your Spirit working in us we can’t do it. Please give us more of your Holy Spirit. We know you love to do this. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.