Auditors not wanted ∙
Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. – James 1:22
23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.
24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard . . .
It is easy to be a pretender. Many of the Father’s children are. Sadly, we think our efforts to show up, get involved and act religious is what the Father intends. James says we are only fooling ourselves. We are living a religious delusion centered upon self-deception. What is worst is that many of us do not know that we are pretending.
“The Great Pretender” is a popular song recorded by The Platters in 1955. The song was repopularized in 1987 by Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. Mercury explained that the song was particularly fitting for the way he saw his career and being on stage. In 2004, the song was voted the 360th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone.
Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much.
I’m lonely but no one can tell. Oh yes, I’m the great pretender.
Adrift in a world of my own, I play the game but to my real shame.
You’ve left me to dream all alone, too real is this feeling of make believe.
Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal.
Ooh, Ooh yes, I’m the great pretender.
I seem to be what I’m not (you see).
I’m wearing my heart like a crown, pretending that you’re still around.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up” (Chinese proverb).
Father encourage me to live out the message of the truth of Your word.
James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Hearing the Scriptures, and not following through is like auditing a class in college. You listen but do not take notes, you do not study, you retain little, and you take no appropriate action. You are involved but are not committed. The course of life firmly built upon the word of God cannot be audited. Merely hearing, understanding, and knowing it are not sufficient. The Father requires that we act upon the truth of His word.
What does it mean to prove yourselves “doers of the word?” This phrase is a Hebrew idiom that could literally be translated, “a word maker.” Doers of the word denotes putting the word into practice, living out the message. It couldn’t be simpler. You must do what it says, you must be sure you live out the message.
But there is more. Living out the message is not enough. While “doing the word,” we get better at it, we keep improving.
This command “to do, to live out” should not frighten us. Rather, it should encourage us. James doesn’t expect us to get this right at the outset. In fact, being fallen creatures in a fallen world, we will never get it completely right. The most important thing is to begin to do. And then we are to make sure that we continue to do. It is a process. Putting it another way, being a doer of the word of God is both an art and a science that can be learned and developed. Short-term failure is expected as a part of a long-term outcome.
Determining to do the word of God is not for the faint of heart. It is much like pursuing innovation in engineering.
There is a perfect real-world analogy for this: Walt Disney Imagineers. The term “Imagineer” is a combination of two words imagination and engineer. For decades, Imagineering enabled Walt Disney to transform the dreams, fantasies, and wishes of his imagination into concrete reality.
Imagineering synthesizes the approaches of three different types of individuals: the dreamer, the realist, and the critic. Disney employs very talented people from different fields and walks of life to dream. They conceive new ideas and invent new technologies for accomplishing them. This eclectic group of Imagineers starts with an idea. They then begin the process of trying to implement the idea. They are expected to fail. In fact, if they do not fail 30% of the time it is assumed, they aren’t trying hard enough to succeed.
Are you pretending and fooling yourself? You can begin right now and choose to live out the message of the Father’s word. Don’t be discouraged by bumps in the road, they are to be expected.
Psalm 37:24 Though they stumble, they will never be hurled headlong, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
Parents are well aware of the fact that toddlers learn to walk when they’re about 12 months old. Wise parents provide a safe environment where the toddler can learn the new skill of walking. Any type of sharp objects or tripping hazards are removed. Parents set the stage and provide support and encouragement along the way. The entire process can be exciting and yet also nerve-racking.
Because the Father wants us to succeed in our walk of faith, He treats every child of the King similarly.
The Father does not guarantee that children of the King will not stumble or fall. Rather, He promises that when it happens, He has their back. On the one hand it is true that He can prevent people from stumbling (Jude 24). But the norm is to allow us to struggle with the normal variations and challenges of life. When we fall, He is there to restore us. Why does the Father do this? What is His motivation? In a word, love. He loves every child of the King. “The Father delights in His children and wants them to learn to walk” (Wiersbe).