“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)
Calling Jesus “Lord” and not obeying His commands is contradictory. It is simply a self-delusion or self-deception to claim to be a follower of Christ and yet not a doer of the teaching of Christ.
James 1:21-22 – NLT
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.
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 the willingness and eagerness to obey His commands and teachings. Disobedience to Jesus’ commands and instructions is a rebellion against His Lordship.
Jesus chided and queried the multitude who followed Him but only paid 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 should walk into many churches today, He would certainly chide the many worshippers regularly converging in these 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 indeed known and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord. Jesus Christ is your Lord when you obey His words eagerly, gladly, and promptly.
There is a significant difference between a hearer, reader, or speaker of God’s Word and a doer of God’s Word. It is possible to be eager, keen, or excited about God’s Word yet unwilling or reluctant to obey it.
In the days of the 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, they had no delight or willingness to obey God’s Word (Eze. 33:30).
Even though they were avid or zealous hearers of God’s Word, they were rebellious to God’s Word. God testified to their eagerness to hear but unwillingness to obey His Word.
Ezekiel 33:31-32 – NKJV
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.
Sadly, this is also the apt description of the hearts of many worshippers in our churches today.
In the days of Ezekiel, 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, it is now in our days.
Many today attend our church services only to be tickled or thrilled by the charismatic display, eloquence, oratory, Greek or Hebrew vocabularies, prophecies, fables, or stories of the preacher.
Our churches have become like cinema or theatre halls, and preachers like comedians or entertainers pay to amuse or entertain you. Many people today only have itching ears but not a willing or obedient mind for God’s Word.
It is wise to heed Paul’s admonition to Timothy.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 – BBE
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.
This warning is also for us today!
It is unprofitable for you to continue hearing God’s Word yet disobeying 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.
James 1:23-25 – NKJV
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.
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.
Jesus told the Jews who believed in Him, “If you keep my word, then you are truly my disciples.” (John 8:31 BBE).
Anyone 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.
The willingness, mindset, or resolution to obey every command, word, or teaching of Christ distinguishes an ardent follower from a passive believer in Christ.
One of the primary reasons 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 to acquire more mental knowledge about God to boast about, preach, or teach to impress people, 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 regenerated 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, you must pull down and clear off all the strongholds, imaginations, imprints, or impressions of the old man in your natural mind and then 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.