“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:21-22 NLT).
It is a contradiction in terms to call Jesus “Lord” and yet not obey His commands. It is simply a self-delusion or self-deception to claim to be a follower of Christ and yet not a doer of the word or teaching of Christ.
James admonishes us not to be mere hearers of God’s Word.
21 “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (NLT).
Anyone who is only a hearer, reader, preacher or teacher of God’s Word, but not a doer of God’s Word is only deceiving himself. Sadly, many believers today who are eager and diligent hearers, readers, preachers and teachers of God’s Word are reluctant and lazy doers of God’s Word.
The primary evidence of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is willingness and eagerness to obey His commands and teachings. Disobedience to Jesus’ commands and teachings is simply a rebellion against His Lordship!
The Lord Jesus chided and queried the multitude following Him about but who were only paying a lip service to Him, saying, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 NKJV).
If Jesus walks into our churches today, He would certainly chide the multitude of worshippers converging regularly in our churches, posing the same question, “why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”
Until your mind is set to eagerly hear, read and obey every word, command, or teaching of Christ, you have not truly known and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord. Jesus Christ is indeed your Lord when you obey His words eagerly, gladly, promptly and completely.
There is a great difference between a hearer, reader or speaker of God’s Word and a doer of God’s Word. It is quite possible to be eager, keen or excited about God’s Word and yet unwilling or reluctant to obey God’s Word.
In the days of prophet Ezekiel, the children of Israel were eager to hear God’s Word but unwilling to obey what they heard.
Although they would gladly gather to Ezekiel to hear God’s Word, yet they had no delight or willingness to obey God’s Word. Even though they were avid or zealous hearers of God’s Word, yet they were rebellious to God’s Word.
God testified to their eagerness to hear but unwillingness to obey His Word.
31 “So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
32 “Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (NKJV).
Sadly, this is also the apt description of the hearts of many worshippers in our churches today.
As it was in the days of Ezekiel when the people of Israel converged to God’s servant only to be informed, educated, cheered up, thrilled, amused or entertained by his teaching, preaching or prophecies, unfortunately, so it is now in our days.
Many people today attend church services only to be tickled or thrilled by the charismatic display, eloquence, oratory, Greek or Hebrew vocabularies, fables or stories of the preacher.
Alas, our churches have become like cinema or theatre halls, and preachers like comedians or entertainers you pay to amuse or entertain you. Many people today only have itching ears but not a willing or obedient mind for God’s Word.
Paul warned his spiritual son, Timothy, about this time and people.
2 Timothy 4:
1 I give you orders, before God and Christ Jesus, who will be the judge of the living and the dead, and by his revelation and his kingdom;
2 Be preaching the word at all times, in every place; make protests, say sharp words, give comfort, with long waiting and teaching;
3 For the time will come when they will not take the true teaching; but, moved by their desires, they will get for themselves a great number of teachers for the pleasure of hearing them;
4 And shutting their ears to what is true, will be turned away to belief in foolish stories. (BBE).
This admonition is also for us today!
It is absolutely unprofitable for you to continue to hear God’s Word and yet continue in disobedience to God’s Word.
It is not the preacher, teacher, speaker, writer, hearer or reader of God’s Word that will receive the inherent blessings in God’s Word, but the keeper, doer, or practitioner of God’s Word.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (NKJV).
If there is no willingness, resolution or determination in your mind to keep or obey every word or teaching of Christ, you are certainly not a disciple of Christ.
Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you keep my word, then you are truly my disciples.” (John 8:31 BBE).
Any believer can read, hear, preach or teach God’s Word, but only a true disciple of Christ will seek to keep or obey every command, word or teaching of Christ.
It is the willingness, mindset or resolution to obey every command, word or teaching of Christ that distinguishes an ardent follower of Christ from a passive believer in Christ.
One of the primary reasons why many believers today are only “eager hearers” but “reluctant doers” of God’s word is the unrenewed or carnal mind. Why?
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7 NKJV)!
While the carnal mind may delight in hearing or reading God’s Word so as to acquire more mental knowledge about God to boast about, preach or teach to impress people; however, it will not obey or submit to God’s Word.
The carnal mind will always reject, rationalize, doubt, or debate spiritual truths!
Beloved, while your born-again spirit or regenerate heart delights in obeying God’s Word, your natural mind needs to be renewed, sanctified, or reset for you to walk in perpetual obedience to God’s Word (Rom. 7:22-23).
If you fail to consciously and diligently put off your former mindsets, values, beliefs, or ambitions and put on that of Christ, you will always struggle to receive, believe, apply or obey Christ’s commands or teachings (Eph. 4:17-24).
Your natural mind has been heavily seeded, cultivated, or programmed by your former sinful and selfish self to reject God’s Word.
Therefore, it is a must for you to pull down and clear off all the strongholds, imaginations, imprints or impressions of the old man in your natural mind, and then begin to cultivate the mindsets of Christ by prayerfully and constantly imbibing Christ’s words or teachings.
Why not start today?
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I pledge today not just to be a mere speaker, teacher, reader or hearer of Your Word, but to be a diligent doer of Your Word. So, help me, Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.