“21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of 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 observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
so i’m not sure if you’ve every picked up on this from the book of james, but he talk quite a bit about you being the one who deceives you. your mind i a powerful thing. if there is one category of thought(s) that cause us to deceive ourselves the most often, i’d have to say it’s pride. think about it for a second. how often have you sat in a sermon and thought, “i’ve heard this before”. Or maybe for you its more like this, “oh man, i was janet was sitting here listening. i guess i’ll have mail her my notes i’m taking [for her] along with the cd.” As we look down the row to make sure our spouse is listening, as well. boy, if that doesn’t reek of pride, i’m not sure what does. pride will often say or think, ‘this doesn’t apply to me’.
james writes us about this very mindset. cause he knows if we begin hear the the truth of scripture and it’s not with meekness, we begin to deceive ourselves. DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! when you deceive yourself, you think you are following christ, but you aren’t; you’re following some other water downed version. And we then we wonder why people today can’t stand the flavor of salt in your life (a “christian”) but loved the taste of christ.
let me add one more insight god slapped me with while reading this passage… the reason christians have such a hard time “defending” their faith is because they minute they walk out the doors on sunday, they forget who they are supposed to be and what christ really looks like. honestly, if we’d spend less time figuring out tactics to “defend or share” our faith and more time listening to scripture as it tells how to LIVE out our faith, christianity wouldn’t leave a bad taste in any one’s mouth. we must begin be doers of the word. if not, we will continue have an identity crisis. if we don’t begin to approach scripture with a prayer of meekness and openness, we will continue not be changed. we will not continue to evolve into the measure of the fullness of the stature of christ. instead, we will have thousands of split personalities all professing to be christ-like.
I love Pastor Derek Turner‘s phrase, “thanks for coming to church today. and thanks for being the church the rest of the week”. if we are all going to be the church and the bride christ longs for, it is going to require meekness and a doing what we hear/read. otherwise, we will become bland group of people who have totally forgotten who they were 10 minutes ago.