“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” — James 1:22
Faith In Action
Jay Hanna Dean grew up to become a professional baseball player. Throughout his career, he kept his boyhood excitement about baseball and life. His colorful personality, silly practical jokes and big-time boasting gave him the nickname “Dizzy Dean.” A lot of people thought he should stop his bragging but he said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” For several years, Dean was one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. In 1934, he went 30-7 with a 2.66 ERA, won the National League MVP and his St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series.
Even though many guys pitch well on the practice field, they struggle under the bright lights when the umpire is making calls they don’t like and the fans are screaming. Dizzy Dean didn’t get rattled in game situations. He delivered on many of his wild predictions by striking out a lot of batters and winning a lot of games.
As we go to church services on Sundays, we are practicing for the week. We are learning to speak kindly to co-workers and classmates, to do our best, to tell the truth and to put God first in our lives. It’s easier to do these things for a few hours on Sunday than it is to do them all week long.
The Lord tells us not to be pretenders. The scribes and Pharisees talked a good game but they didn’t deliver in real life. The Pharisees treated other people badly and Jesus wasn’t happy about it. “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach’” (Matthew 23:1-3). When we hear God’s Word, we need to obey the Lord in daily life. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
Jesus is the only one who never sinned, but the Lord wants us to listen, learn and live for Him. “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). That’s why Paul thanked God for Timothy. Paul dealt with many people who only cared about themselves. Timothy was unselfish and sincere. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
— Bill Kent, pastor at Memorial Baptist Church (Sylvania, Ga.)
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