“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” – James 1:22-25 (MSG).
If you’ve been in church very long, chances are you know a lot about the Bible. Maybe you’ve read it all the way through a couple of times. You’ve listened to sermons about it on Sunday mornings. You’ve been in some small groups where you’ve talked about it. But there is more to focusing on God’s Word than reading it.
The word of God is a matter of life and death. This isn’t just a book. James described it as, ‘the perfect law that gives freedom.” (James 1:25 ESV) Those are pretty big shoes to fill. A book that’s perfect, contains God’s commands, and has the power to bring freedom in our lives has to be more than just a book. It’s more than just ink on paper. It has the power to transform lives. But to unleash that power we need to act on what we read.
Jesus talks about this in Matthew 7. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and…” What’s the next part? “follows it is wise.” Other translations say “anyone who listens to my teaching and acts on it “(NASB); puts it into practice (NIV) and does it (ESV)” So focusing on God’s Word is not a passive exercise but an active one. It requires action on our part. James 2:14 tells us, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?”
Don’t let circumstances dominate your life. Remember the power of the Word. Don’t limit God. Dare to believe and dare to act on what you read. How do you create the proper environment in which the Word can work in your life? You begin by making the Word of God the final authority in your life. That requires making a quality decision that if the Word says it, “I believe it.”
Realize that it will also take time for the roots of that decision to become anchored in your life. Secondly, it requires that you have an earnest expectation – that you are going to see the Word work.
Each day as you read God’s Word, don’t just read and then move on. Spend time asking the Lord, “What do you want me to learn from what I’ve read today?”
- How do you create the proper environment in which the Word can work in your life?
- What can we do this week to focus on God’s Word?