“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” — James 1:22-24
As a collegiate decathlete, one of the more demanding events I had to master was the pole vault. Before athletes vault, they must first select an appropriate pole — one that corresponds with their body weight. Manufacturers design poles with five-pound increments and place a label on each pole, sternly warning vaulters not to exceed the pole’s weight limit. However, inexperienced vaulters often ignore these limits so that they can jump on “softer” poles.
Softer poles are less likely to “reject” (throw them back onto the runway) vaulters who overstep their takeoff point. On several occasions, I used such poles. I knew the pole’s limit, but I ignored it. Eventually, my luck ran out — I overloaded a pole, and it exploded in my hands. As I fell toward the unprotected box through a cloud of fiberglass splinters, I thought, “This is really going to hurt.” Miraculously, I escaped serious injury. Nevertheless, I could have avoided a lot of pain if I had simply obeyed the manufacture’s guidelines.
Christians often make a similar error. We read God’s Word — we may even memorize it — yet we fail to obey it and actually do what it says. Failing to heed a vaulting pole’s warning is dangerous because doing so may result in serious injury or death. But failing to obey God’s Word is considerably more hazardous since the consequences are everlasting.
Therefore, we should daily ask ourselves, “What can I do today to obey God’s Word more fully?”
— Aaron Werner
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