Sunday, October 21, 2012
This grand bronze statue of a Shakespearean character called, "The Actor" by Dee Clements, stands in Benson Park in Loveland, Colorado. The statue reminds me of a verse in the Epistle of James about a person who looks in a mirror. Here's how it goes:
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 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; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" James 1:22-25.
Practically speaking, here's at least part of what this means: We can actually deceive our own selves in matters of faith. We can listen to a preacher/teacher or study the Word ourselves, we can even agree with everything we've learned about how God wants us to live and what He wants us to do. Then, we can walk away from that encounter totally unchanged, doing nothing about what we just learned. We may have gotten a bit more head knowledge, but our hearts remain untouched.
Here's how Beth Moore put it in her study of James: "We can work a study until the desert turns to ice and still be stuck in the same bondage. The doing causes the changing - not the hearing. Why don't we get that? Because we deceive ourselves. The self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being changed....the Word was meant to work."
It reminds me of the song, Through the Motions, by Matthew West. He sings, "I don't wanna go through the motions / I don't wanna go one more day / without Your all consuming passion inside of me / I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, / "'What if I had given everything, / instead of going through the motions?'"
As we're convicted by the first part of the verse, don't neglect the positive promise of the last part: if we will be faithful doers of the word and, I might add, refuse to just go through the motions, we will be blessed in what we do. What a joy to be passionate about God!