James 1:22-25 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
What is the Lord speaking to you through your Bible reading? If the Word of God is alive, then the words we are reading and listening to should make us come to life when we hear them. Whether you’ve been spending time in the Psalms or in Jesus’ parables, the Lord can speak to us through it all and, often times, He is speaking to us-even if we don’t see it.
I love this passage in James and the imagery he paints for those listening. He shares a simple truth that so many of us forget to follow through with-applying God’s Word to our lives. Here’s something to remember-God speaks. He doesn’t just say random, unplanned words; He speaks truth that brings life to our souls. When we read our Bibles, every word we are reading and listening to brings us life. Unfortunately, too many of us read these words to check off our Bible time off our lists and, by the end of the day, we forget what we read. James challenge to us to not be like this. His charge to us to retain what we have heard and apply it. Why? Because James understood the importance of life and truth and he wanted to encourage God’s people to understand it, too.
Listening is not the easiest thing to learn, but if practice makes perfect, then the more we listen the better we will become. My challenge for you is to take the time to understand the words you are listening to in your Bible time. Study them, break them down, get so familiar with them that you don’t forget the life it is bringing to you. As James says to wrap up this section, “if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:25)