Adventure is Out There: Day 5
Principle 5: PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:19
READ: James 1:19-27
I don’t know about you, but in our house we can never locate our socks and shoes. EVER. I’m not talking about Michael and I. I’m talking about our four children. I don’t understand it. They are all so incredibly smart. When our oldest son was two years old he learned the name of every single president of the United States and could recite them with only a picture as a clue. TWO YEARS OLD!!! I mean that’s child prodigy stuff, but when it comes to remembering where he was when he took his socks and shoes off, he has absolutely no idea. How is that possible? It’s as though the channel of his brain that is used to locate socks and shoes is malfunctioning and therefore out of order. I legitimately feel as though I spend my whole life looking for these illusive items, and there is nothing that I loathe more than sacrificing my precious time hunting them down. Perhaps you have a similar issue in your household?
We can all get a good chuckle out of this, but when I read this passage in the book of James I’m confronted with my own shortcomings. “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” It seems odd that anyone could look at him or herself in the mirror and then quickly forgets their reflection mere seconds later. Almost as bewildering as when my kids put their shoes down and then minutes later have no recollection of what they’ve done with them. James uses this near ridiculous illustration to place an exclamation point on the truth he has just proclaimed: if you hear the word and don’t do it you might have well have not heard it in the first place. Ouch. It hurts doesn’t it?
The fact is, we all do it. Hear a sermon about gossiping and then talk about “crazy Sally” to three of our closest friends we meet up with in the church bathroom directly following service. Swear we will be more patient and then promptly yell out obscenities to that mother ignoring the rules in the pick-up line. Unfortunately, I must confess I’ve done both of these things.
And the bottom line is if we want to see change, reach goals, take the road less traveled, and discover adventure in 2016 we actually have to do what we set out to do. It’s a painfully simple principle but so downright impossible sometimes to put into practice.
The bad news is you might actually have to…
Wake up at 5am to catch an early morning workout.
Turn down the donut at work.
Press “send” on that email.
Apply to that school, or for that loan, or whatever.
Look fear and failure in the eye and trudge forward in spite of it.
But the good news is, that if you conquer even one thing on your to do list the tide has begun to turn in your favor. Be faithful to what God has called you to EVERY SINGLE DAY and before too long you will find yourself so close to your end goal you can nearly reach out and touch it.
When we send our Christmas cards out, or in my case, post them on Facebook, the sentiment is always, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” or “Blessings in the year to come.”
According to James, we can be blessed! It just doesn’t just have to be some cute little sentiment we write on a greeting card or a post on social media.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
When we listen to the voice of God, commit to be obedient at His leading, and actually do what He says, we will be blessed.
Now as we close, allow me to pray a benediction over you…
May you be faithful to invest small amounts of time over the course of this new year upon which you are about to embark.
May you not be discouraged, but find joy in all things and in doing so gain strength for each day.
May you focus not on what you do not have, but the good gifts right in front of you.
In everything may you pray and in doing so find ALL that you need in genuine communion with Him.
And May you be not only quick to listen but also quick to put into practice what you have heard. And there, in that beautiful place of obedience and submission find unimaginable blessing from your God.