“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
God gave us His Word to be heard, to be understood, and to be applied to our lives. We do the first two fairly well (most of the time), but the final element is something we have trouble with. It seems that we think we’ve done our job if we hear God’s Word and have a rudimentary grasp of it – if we can pass the comprehension test, in other words. James wrote this command, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because it can be such a blind spot for us.
So, how do we do what it (God’s Word) says, and not merely listen to it? Let me offer a few suggestions.
- Seek God. In other words, pray. Ask God how He would have you apply the particular truths of the verse or passage you’ve read, or meditated upon, or heard preached, or taught.
- Write it down. If there is a clear application, take the time to write it down. Be specific (“Today I will ask forgiveness of the person I’ve sinned against,” or “This week I’ll encourage a brother or sister in Christ who needs it”).
- Do it. Don’t put off being a doer of the Word. As Ben Haden used to say, “Tomorrow letters never get written.” By the same token, tomorrow application of God’s Word never gets done.
Hearing and doing are two sides of the same coin. Do both for God’s glory and our good!