Friday, December 9, 2016

Hearing or Doing?

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." --James 1:22-25

“Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” --Deut. 4:6

“Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.” --Prov. 22:17

“If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” --Mal. 2:2

Hearing and doing seem to go hand in hand when listening to truth or God’s law. We can hear the truth, but unless we put into practice what we hear, the truth can’t change us. It is like looking at ourselves in a mirror and recognizing a problem, but then not doing anything about it. Deuteronomy says that hearing and keeping the law (in this case) makes for a wise and understanding people.  We go to church, study the Bible, pray, and memorize Scripture, but do we do the things that we learn? It’s when we do that Christ’s character can be perfected in ours.

The mirror we are to look into is that of the "perfect law of liberty." The Law of God is the standard by which God will judge our characters. The Law is Christ's character. Therefore, it must also be the standard where we recognize our defects and also be able to accept Christ's righteousness in place of our own. But we don't just look at our defects, although we recognize them, but it is beholding Christ and allowing ourselves to be transformed into His image. This is not something we do just once or twice--this is a daily work we need to do. 

However, we must still act upon what we see in the mirror. If we look into the Law of God, and we recognize something that we are doing that needs to be given up, and we don't, we are only hearers. 

"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." --Romans 2:13
And as it is said, "by the law is the knowledge of sin." --Rom 3:20

What do we do when we are convicted? Do we only hear, and not do? If you think about it, hearing can only bring conviction, but in order to follow that conviction, we must do. 

“There have been men in every generation who have claimed to be the sons of God, who paid tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and yet who led a godless life, for they neglected the weightier matters of the law—mercy, justice, and the love of God. There are today many who are in a similar deception; for while bearing an appearance of great sanctity, they are not doers of the Word of God. What can be done to open the eyes of these self-deluded souls except to set before them an example of true piety and be ourselves not hearers only but doers of the commandments of the Lord, thus reflecting the light of purity of character upon their pathway? The sons of God will not be like the worldling; for the truth received in the heart will be the means of purifying the soul and of transforming the character and of making its receiver like-minded with God. Unless a man becomes like-minded with God, he is still in his natural depravity. If Christ is in the heart, He will appear in the home, in the workshop, in the marketplace, in the church. The power of the truth will be felt in elevating, ennobling the mind and softening and subduing the heart, bringing the whole man into harmony with God. He who is transformed by the truth will shed a light upon the world. He that hath the hope of Christ in him will purify himself even as He is pure. The hope of Christ’s appearing is a large hope, a far-reaching hope. It is the hope of seeing the King in His beauty and of being made like Him.” – FW 116

Let us not just be hearers, but doers, so that we may be transformed into the image of Christ and show others the pathway to Heaven.

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