As we finish this week of looking at different ways God speaks, today we’re going to look at the role of taking action in hearing God. One of the most powerful ways to discover what God thinks and how God feels is joining him where he is at work in the world around us. So my prayer today is that God opens our eyes and ears to discover fresh parts of how he declares his heart to us, and that we’re empowered to take action today in even more meaningful ways.
“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. 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.” James 1:23-25
For the One | Brian and Jenn Johnson
Watch the lyric video for “For the One” from Brian and Jenn Johnson’s album “After All These Years.” “After All These Years” is a solo album from Brian and Jenn Johnson released in January 2017.
Faith and action go together. Understanding and works are tethered—joined together at salvation through the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. James 2:14-17 asks us,
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
The poor, orphaned, widowed, and lost don’t just need a word from God. They need us to act on our beliefs and love and serve selflessly with the help of the Holy Spirit. Gathering together as believers to worship is just a part of what God intends for us as his children. If we are to receive all that God has for us, if we are to walk in the abundant life God intends, we must resolve to be doers of the word.
James 1:23-25 gives us a window into the life of a believer who never puts action to his faith. Scripture says,
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. 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.
Your identity as a disciple of Christ undoubtedly comes from relationship with God, but it is meant to be lived out in your deeds. God longs for you to live a life of good works in response to the unconditional love you’ve been given. He longs for you to live in selfless humility sharing with others what he’s done in you.
We’ve separated Christianity from the world. We’ve separated Sunday from Monday, the sacred and secular. Jesus lived in line with God’s love every minute he was here. He broke the rules in healing on the Sabbath. He ministered almost completely outside of the walls of the synagogue. He brought the good news of God’s grace to all who would believe everywhere he went. His life was in no way segregated. Jesus’s turning the water into wine at a party was just as holy and spiritual as his reading of Isaiah in the temple, proclaiming his fulfillment of the prophecy regarding the Messiah. His love was put into perfect action through every word, miracle, step, glance, and prayer.
With Jesus as our perfect example, let’s live in accordance with God’s will. Let’s blur the line of faith and works until the two become one. Let’s regard meals, conversations, rest, family time, and parties as important and holy as worshipping inside the walls of our churches. Let’s live as Jesus did and make love an action instead of just an idea we talk about on Sunday.
1. Meditate on God’s desire for your faith to produce good works.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14-17
2. Ask God where he would have you put faith into action. It could be buying flowers for your wife, finding a new way to honor your husband, taking your children on a special trip, or offering encouragement to someone around you at work or school. Ask the Spirit to give you specific ways in which he desires you live out the love you have received.
3. Ask God for the strength and courage to live out his word. Follow the leadership of the Spirit into the good works he has prepared for you today.
The Spirit has an incredible ability and power to guide a willing heart into action for God. Receiving the knowledge of God’s love for the people around you will open up doors in your own life to better know the fullness of God’s heart. You will be more deeply blessed by serving others than you could ever be blessed in being served. God pours his love and grace out on those who minister in line with the leading of the Spirit. It’s truly an honor to be used by God to further the advance of his kingdom in the earth. You were made to live out the truth of the gospel. So choose today to act upon the leading of the Spirit. Choose to be a doer of the word.
Extended Reading: James 1