Stop Fooling Yourself

          “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a
kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 
(19)  Wherefore, my beloved
brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  (20) 
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  (21) 
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and
receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your
souls.  (22)  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers
only, deceiving your own selves. 
(23)  For if any be a hearer of
the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a
glass:  (24)  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way,
and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  (25) 
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man
shall be blessed in his deed
” (James 1:18-25).

            There are
four categories of people in the world: those that have knowledge and zeal,
those that have zeal and no knowledge, those that have no knowledge and no
zeal, and those that have knowledge and no zeal (Romans 10:1-3) [1].
Out of all of these categories, the last is the most devastating because it
describes a group of people that know the will of God, but do not feel the need
to obey that will. These are the people that hear the word of God, but do not
do it. As you can read above, James discourages this type of behavior (or lack
thereof) in no uncertain terms. In this essay we will examine the problem of
hearing but not doing, suggest a way of how to overcome a lack of zeal, and then
discuss the benefits of hearing and doing God’s word.
            One quick
glance at Facebook, some other social media site, or even a church pew, will
reveal that far too many Christians are not practicing what they have been
taught from the infallible, life-giving truth found in the Bible (John 6:63). However,
almost every one of these individuals will claim to be a faithful Christian and
may even attend services every time the doors are open. We don’t have the
miraculous gifts of the spirit today since we aren’t living in the last days (Guy N
Woods 5-7)
[2],
but Jesus described a group of His listeners that act similarly to many in the
church today, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he that
doeth
the will of my Father which is in heaven.  (22) 
Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast
out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  (23) 
And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you
: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
” (Matthew 7:21-23).
            Here we
read of a group of people who were proclaiming to perform so many deeds for the
Lord, but in reality there were not doing the will of God. This reminds me of
the Old Testament priests who were going through the motions of offering
sacrifices, but they were not serving God in their hearts (Hebrews 6:6). It is
a shame today to see so many who say that they’re Christians, but do not confirm
those claims in the way that they live. It is the one who “walks in the light” and not just “talks in the light” that has access to “all spiritual blessings in
heavenly places in Christ” (I John 1:7; Ephesians 1:3). Stop fooling yourself
into thinking that you can be a faithful Christian without doing God’s will (Hebrews
5:8-9; Hebrews 11:6).
            One important
thing to remember about sin is that it is not unique to you. “For all have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God
” (Romans 3:23). Also, “If
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us

(I John 1:8). If you find yourself in a position where it seems like you’ve
become “a forgetful hearer” (James 1:25, above), try this exercise that has
worked for me in the past. Paul said, “I
am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in
me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son
of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me
” (Galatians
2:20). Jesus Christ came and died for YOU! Think about that for a second. Think
of how many billions of people have lived upon this earth, and remember that He
died with you in mind. The spotless Son of God endured the shame of the cross
and overcame the pains of death so that YOU (someone who has sinned time and
time again) could have eternal life with Him. Is that doesn’t ignite zeal in
your life, I don’t know what will!
            “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service
.  (2)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God
” (Romans 12:1-2). Obeying the word
of God is our reasonable service. It is something that we do, not to earn our
salvation, but to express gratitude for the sacrifice that His son gave for us
on the cross, so that He could become the “firstborn among many brethren”
(Romans 8:29; James 1:18). In it through obedience to the truth that we are
born again with Him, not of flesh and blood, but of the spirit of God (I Peter
1:22-23; John 3:3-6). It is an HONOUR to be able to serve the living God, and I
cannot comprehend how there are those who know the book, but don’t follow Him
daily.
            I’m not sure
what category you may be in. I don’t know the details of your life, but one
thing I do know: friend, if you aren’t hearing and doing God’s word, you better
start now because life is “a vapour, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away
” (James 4:14).


[1] Jerri Manasco, Crestview
church of Christ
[2]
Guy N Woods, Ben Franklin. Woods – Franklin Debate .
Birmingham, AL: Roberst & Son, 1974. Book.

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