This past Sunday we concluded James 1. James is writing to the Jews who have been scattered everywhere and are being persecuted. He gives them several calls to action in order that they may be steadfast in this persecution.
- The first call to action is to count it all joy in the midst of their trials.
- The second call to action is ask God for wisdom if you don't have joy during trials.
- The third call to action is to be doers of the wisdom that God gives us.
Every call to action leads us to a growing dependency on God.
God gave Abraham a call to action. Leave your father's house and go to a land which I will give you. He didn't tell Abraham where. He just said go. Abraham learned to depend on God. And if we continue following Abraham's life we see that dependency grow.
So when James gives us a call to action to count it all joy in the midst of trials we must allow our dependency on God to grow. Our dependency grows as we ask God for wisdom. Our dependency shows as we walk out the wisdom God gives us. James says it like this!
James 1:22-25 (ESV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
But listen to the analogy James gives us next!
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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
It's like looking in the mirror, walking away from the mirror, forgetting what you look like, walking back to the mirror, looking into the mirror, seeing what you look like, walking away from the mirror, forgetting what you look like, walking back to the mirror...
How many times have we heard a message on a Sunday morning and thought, "Wow! I needed to hear that!" We start out Monday morning filled with faith ready to take on the week. All of a sudden "stuff" begins to happen. One of the kids get sick. The washing machine breaks down. We get in an argument with our spouse. Our kids aren't co-operating. Next thing we know we are so overwhelmed with "stuff" that what we received out of the Sunday morning message gets "snuffed" out! We FORGET the wisdom we received from the message.
What is the solution?
Take the mirror with you! What? Yes, take the mirror with you. Here's how James puts it.
But the one who LOOKS INT THE PERFECT LAW, the law of liberty, and CONTINUES IN IT, BEING NO HEARER WHO FORGETS but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
We have to be intentional about the call to action and the wisdom that God gives us and CONTINUING in it.
Here's how God puts it to the Children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
That means taking a scripture, writing it on a piece of paper, making copies of it and putting around the house to remind us of God's wisdom. Tape it to the mirror in the bathroom. Put it on your refrigerator in the kitchen. Attach it to the rear view mirror in the car.
We handed out these business cards to our families on Sunday! We encouraged them to take as many as they needed to remind themselves that God is in control!
The solution to "not forgetting" the wisdom that is implanted in our hearts is to be intentional with putting reminders of God all around us. The more intentional we are with the wisdom that God gives us the more our dependency on Him will grow!