James 1:22, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”
While James E. Rogan was a U. S. Representative from the 27th District of California, he was faced with a crucial decision. He had been elected by the slimmest of margins in an area that usually voted for the other party. An extremely important public issue with immense moral implications was being considered. If he followed his conscience, it would cost him re-election and if he followed political expediency, he could be certain of another term. The congressman went with his convictions and voted for what he knew in his heart to be right. He was not re-elected. Afterward, he said, “It hurt to lose; however, I’ll never regret my vote. You see, it’s easy for elected officials to succumb to the illusion that the greater good is served by their self-perpetuation in office. But something larger gets lost, the ability to lead.”
My beloved, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to live by the principles of the Bible. At times, that will certainly cost us popularity or even success. Truth may cost more than a lie; conviction more than convenience; and honesty more than cheating. In our relationship with Jesus Christ, He asks for our obedience and faithfulness, not a warm feeling or a statement of belief. He asked those following Him, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus illustrated His point with the parable of the wise and foolish builders. The rock-solid foundation of the wise builder’s house illustrates the result of our obedience to God. This honors Christ and enables us to withstand the storms of life. So, what we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most.
Many people today are looking for something new to guide their lives because they’ve lost sight of God’s principles found in His precious Word. They regard the Bible as a relic from the past; however, God’s laws are just as relevant and practical today as when He first gave them. His standards are even more constant than the North Star and as unfailing as the law of gravity. They aren’t arbitrary rules like the traffic laws that tell us whether to drive on the right side of the road or the left. To violate God’s commands will bring destruction to individuals and chaos to society, which is so very evident today.
I came to the realization that as a finite human being I don’t have the mental capacity to grasp fully what is infinite and eternal. I also have learned that what really matters most isn’t gaining more knowledge about life’s mysteries but putting into practice what God has clearly told me through His Word. As I do that, I will become the kind of person He wants me to be. In the book of James 1:12-27, we are told:
(1) How to respond when tempted.
(2) We are to see the benefits of resisting temptation (v. 12).
(3) Take responsibility for our actions (vv. 13-15).
(4) Acknowledge God’s goodness (vv. 13-17).
(5) Seeing ourselves as the recipients of His grace (v. 17)
(6) Exercise patience (v. 19).
(7) Listen submissively to Him (v. 21), and
(8 ) Putting off all moral filth and evil (v. 21).
My beloved, these words aren’t hard to understand. How different we would be if we did what we know matters the most! So my brethren, our obedience to God and His Eternal Word is extremely important to everyone who has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So, if we love God, we will strive to obey all of His decrees, not just the ones we like or agree with. I came across a poem this past week, and I will close with it. It’s as if the Lord Jesus is speaking to all our hearts, for it says:
‘Ye call Me Master and obey Me not;
Ye call Me Light and see Me not;
Ye call Me Way and walk Me not;
Ye call Me Life and desire Me not;
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not;
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not;
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not;
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not;
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not;
Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not;
Ye call Me Mighty and honour Me not;
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not;
If I condemn YOU, blame Me not’.
Jesus said: ‘If ye love me, keep my commands’.
We don’t really know God’s Word unless we obey what His Word says!