I often wonder why so many modern believers don't read the scriptures, or very rarely do. And then I think about my own life: I read the scriptures daily, but there are times (too many for my liking), where I don't look like what I read. Am I reading the word, and not doing it? This morning, as I was getting ready for church, I asked myself, am I reflecting the church as the Bible (especially the book of Acts) describes it? Not on purpose. I have people at my house almost daily, but it's not by my invitation, it just happens. I am not meeting from house to house with other believers, as it says in Acts, and my life does not often reflect (to my liking, anyway), what the Bible tells me I should be as a believer. My wife and I talked about it briefly as we came to church this morning: We want our lives to be a reflection of Christ and His church, and we want to be what we desire our children, and indeed our church to become. Scripture is the mirror by which we should examine our lives, and if we do not measure up, then we need to surrender more to the Holy Spirit, that He might conform us to His will. Even now, we won't see everything clearly (1 Corinthians 13:13), but through Scripture we can see what footholds this world and the enemy has upon us. Believer, it is time that you and I look more closely in the mirror, and be doers of the word, not merely hearers or receivers of it.
James 1 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 James, a servant[a] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Testing of Your Faith
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Hearing and Doing the Word
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
a. James 1:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface
b. James 1:2 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 16, 19
c. James 1:10 Or a wild flower
d. James 1:17 Some manuscripts variation due to a shadow of turning