22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror
24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
25 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.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The Bible is such an amazing book. This portion of scripture in James has so many great lessons in it focusing on our actions versus our words. Jesus was the ultimate example of “action” in the Bible and I love reading about his interaction with people who loved and followed him but also those who wanted to eventually betray and kill him. In this season of Thanksgiving and relationships that we have with friends and family, there are a few things we can glean from interactions that Jesus had with people along with these verses from James.
1. Jesus was a man of little words and lots of action
James 1:22 specifically says that we should not be a LISTENER but a DOER of the Word. I actually LOVE the climate of social media and the immense failure of trying to use words to convince people about what you believe. I think what it does is eliminate the focus on the WORDS of people who follow Christ and forces them to use ACTIONS to show God’s love. Jesus was always about actions and doing to show love rather than just talking a good game. This Thanksgiving season, ask God to give you opportunities to show his love through you.
2. You have to spend time with God. There is no substitute
This verse in James talks about blessings from doing what the Word says. The only way we can know the Bible is not by watching lots of Christian TV or going to church every week or listening to tons of podcasts, it is taking time out of our busy day and spending some time with God. This was something even modeled by Jesus throughout his time on the earth when it says He would get up early to go spend time with the Father. If it was important enough for Jesus to take time out of His day we need to follow that same pattern.
3. Jesus was never focused on what he saw in the physical realm, He was focused on God’s ultimate plan
We ALWAYS need to remember that God’s heart is that ALL people would come to a saving knowledge of Him in their lives. The best result of us following Christ is that we perfectly fulfill our destiny on this earth and that by our actions and words, that we would lead anyone we come in contact with to a better relationship with God. The loose tongue in James 1:26 works opposite of that ultimate goal because reactionary words will always cause more harm than good with our reputations and helping to change people’s opinions.
Thanksgiving can be a very stressful time to interact with family especially with such a contentious election season that just ended and divisions in our country even in families. We are praying for you all and your families this holiday season and believing for healing between families and friends and that God would give you all opportunities to not just share about how important Jesus is to you, but to act on that love. Jesus’ words drew people in but his actions proved what he was saying. We need to operate the same way and see lives authentically changed for the better.