Monday, March 12: That you are a listener when you are anything but
Relying heavily on the teachings of Jesus and especially drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, James asserts that true faith is more than an intellectual pursuit of ideas. Instead, real faith results in action. James writes a stream of wise teachings that can easily seem like a bucket of ice water in your face. Watch for the Holy Spirit to call you to take next steps in activating your faith. On this second trip through the book in this series, we'll read from The Message.
Read James 1:22-27
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.
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
We're whizzes at recognizing and judging religious blowhards: those whose behaviors don't align with their proclaimed allegiance with God. But James isn't writing only about them, but about us, too. Is your love of God supported by the indisputable evidence of your actions?
In order to begin to act on what we hear, we need to take honest stock of what we're tuning into in the first place. We have noisy lives, and truth be told, we like it that way. Today, quiet yourself. Invite the still, small voice of God to speak with you. Receive God's love, and if he nudges you to move, do it.