So last week I spent some time reading through the book of James. If you haven’t read James in a while I suggest you stop reading my blog and go read it. It is a very challenging book and one that always convicts me. And this week I wanted to talk about something I think we Christians all struggle with greatly.
I think we have all become really good hearers these days. I mean, look at how we gauge what a good Christian look likes. If I attend Sunday morning Church every week, attend as many small groups or Bible Study’s at my Church as possible, make sure to be at Sunday School and then read my Bible everyday people think I am some sort of super Christian. For some reason, we have equated attendance with spirituality. But that flies in the face of what James says in James 1:22. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Church and Bible study attendance are very good ways of helping us hear the Word and learn, but these do not make a person a Christian. I fear that many Christians today have lost sight of this. We are now content being hearers, going to get “recharged” or seeking fellowship for ourselves. Rather, the Bible tells us that this kind of faith is really no faith at all, (see the countless examples in the Gospels regarding the Pharisees).
So how do we become doers instead of just hearers? Well I am glad you asked! First, we have to remember that Church, the Bible and everything else isn’t about us. It’s all about God. The problem is that we think Church and the Bible are tools used to help me. I go to Church to get my recharge or I read my Bible to gain useful knowledge that can help me live a better, happier life. This is not Christianity, only extreme arrogance and selfishness! We go to Church to see and worship Jesus Christ. We read our Bible to know God and how we can love, serve and glorify Him. “So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As long as you are going to Church or reading your Bible for your gain or your glory, you will only be a hearer. Rather, do all things, ALL THINGS, for the glory of God if you want to be a doer.
Secondly we need to learn how to apply what we learn, not just learn more information. Now I am going to suggest something a little controversial here, but stay with me. I think we need to stop going to so many Bible Study’s, Sunday School’s and Churches. Yes you need to be going somewhere for fellowship each week, but some of us are getting ridiculous. I met a few people who attend a study every night! Now we first hear that and think they must really love the Lord, (which I believe they do). The problem is that all of this study leaves little or no time to learn how to practically apply this knowledge.
The Bible is useful in our lives when it produces fruit. We see in Luke 13:6-9 that if you are not bearing fruit you may get “cut down.” I don’t take this verse to mean you can lose your salvation, but rather that if you are busy collecting knowledge but not actively applying it you may have no root to begin with just as the Pharisees didn’t, (see Matthew 23:1-36). The Bible also teaches us that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up,” (1 Corinthians 8:1). I don’t have an answer for how many Bible study’s we should attend each week, but I will say over attendance can be just as dangerous as under attendance. My advise is find out how many study’s you need so you can learn and apply what you are learning in your every day life.
This is why we see so many “Sunday morning Christians,” (if they truly are even Christians), out there. They come to Church and Bible study’s for the love and encouragement, but once they walk out those Church doors back into the “real world,” you could not tell the difference between them and a non-Christian. This is what it means to be a hearer but not a doer.
And this is the last thing I think we need to do in order to be doers. We need to live radically. I feel like most Christians I meet are more marked by the culture they live in than by the God they live for. Jesus said in Luke 9:26, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
This goes back to the idea of being light in Matthew 5:14-16. If you have the light of Jesus in your life, why would you hide it? Why would you be ashamed of this amazing light just because there is so much darkness around? Like I have said before, light is most effective in the darkest places. So instead of trying to fit in with the culture and society around you we Christians should be living above and beyond our society and culture. How can Christians drive $250,000 cars and own $3 million houses when there are millions who are starving each day? How can we be so consumed with our own lives when so many have yet to hear of this Gospel of Grace?
Next week I will be talking about money. I feel like how Christians approach money is very important, and often we Christians err on one side or the other. My goal is that even our money would show the world that we are doers not just hearers, and that it would shine Jesus’ light to the nations. So let us all stop just hearing and instead begin doing. Let’s be so in love with Jesus that it changes the way we see our everyday life. Let’s use our knowledge for love rather than for self. And most importantly, let’s remember that it’s not about us, it’s all about God.