Why Do You Do What You Do? (1:22-27)
The end of James 1 deals with obedience and religion. Verse 22 is a very familiar verse talking about our obedience to God. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” God’s Word is a perfect guide for our lives. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” When we hear the Word (through preaching, teaching, or our personal Bible study) we need to immediately start looking for ways to apply that which we have seen in the Bible.
The Bible tells us if we don’t do that which we have heard from God’s Word, we are deceiving ourselves. Many time, Christians think that going to church, reading the Bible, and praying is enough. Now, is reading God’s Word important? Absolutely! Is church attendance needed? Without a doubt! But what the Bible is saying in James 1:22 is that we might think we’re good Christians, but if we are practicing what we’re learning, we’re just tricking ourselves.
Verses 23 and 24 speak of a man that looks in a mirror and, seeing things that need to be taken care of, goes about his day as if there was no hair that need combed, whiskers that needed shaved, or teeth that needed brushed.
This concept is continued in verses 26 and 27. There are those that seem to “have it all together” in a spiritual sense. They have nice King James bibles, dress nicely, come to every church service, and do what Christians are supposed to do. However, God is clear that if this person doesn’t keep their tongue (a subject we will look at in a few days) or take care of others, this person “deceiveth his own heart”.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) We must care for others – they are our ministry. And we must keep ourselves pure from this world. There are multitudes of things that will drag us down like a stone in water. But we must keep this “pure religion” in our hearts.
Why do you do what you do? I hope the answer is twofold:
- Because you want to be a doer of the Word of God, and
- Because you want to be one who practices pure religion.
Life is too short to “play” Christian. There are souls going to Hell and Christians falling away every day. We must make sure we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, and that we are doing it for the right reason.