Daily Devotional – James 1:22 – July 9, 2023

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22

How often is modern Christianity limited to simply a church service on Sunday? Maybe, if you’re really devout, a little more often than that. We’ve boiled our faith down to sitting in a pew, singing a few songs, and listening to a sermon. Of course, none of these are bad things. But when that’s the entirety of what our faith, there’s a problem.

James says that our calling is not just to hear the gospel, not just to be taught about it, but to live it out. Of course, learning and hearing is a necessity if we want to know scripture and to have a relationship with God. The point isn’t that these things are bad in any way. The point is that if we only hear and only learn, but never act, then we’ve missed the point. You’ve probably heard another famous verse in James that has a similar point that reads, “faith without works is dead.” James is very clearly trying to show us that Christianity is not a passive faith, but an active one.

If you hear the word of God, learn it, ruminate on it, even memorize it, but don’t act on it, then it served you no purpose. If it doesn’t change you, then you’ve missed something along the way. The entire purpose of the gospel and of scripture is to transform us, to reveal the nature of God himself to us and to allow us to be transformed to be more and more like him all the time. In fact, it’s safe to say that if you’ve heard the word of God and haven’t acted on it, then there are two possibilities. You either don’t believe it, or you haven’t learned it. If you’ve heard it and received it, then you will do it.

Similarly, the “faith without works” verse doesn’t mean that your faith is reliant on what you good things you can do. It means that if you have faith, the natural response will be action. It’s not possible to believe in Jesus, accept his commands, and then not to act on it. The works are the natural fruit of faith, not a way to earn faith.

In both cases, the point is clear. Christ didn’t call us to be passive about our faith. He didn’t call us to a life of leisure and complacency. He called us to action. Faith in Christ requires action. Learning and knowing his word requires action. Anything less is simply not the gospel


Help me to see where I am falling short. What have I listened to or learned but failed to put into action? Help me to understand these things and to change them. Help me to live out my faith actively. Transform me into your own image.
In Jesus’ Name,

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