‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.’ (James 1:22-24)

So much of what James said speaks to us today. This is our culture! We listen to all kinds of things, pick what we like, and disregard the rest. But rarely do we do more than listen, and add to our store of knowledge or opinions. How often do we act on what we learn?

Here, James echos Paul’s words from Romans 2:13.  Then, in the second chapter, James teaches us that faith without works is dead. The idea is the same . . . it’s not what you say, or think, or believe–it’s what you DO that matters.

We’d better start DOING what the Word says–not just read it, agree with it, ponder it, and believe it.

I recently had the experience of caring for some children. They are very sweet children, and if you can get their full attention, they will listen intently. But no sooner would I tell them something, than they would go and do as they pleased! Over time, it became obvious that this was a pattern. They simply could not comprehend that they needed to submit to me–that they needed to both listen AND obey. I found myself getting more and more angry and frustrated.

But isn’t this how most people are today? How frustrated and angry God must get! He tells us things and we smile and nod, but then we go on doing just whatever we please!

Now I’m sure some people will try to correct me and say that God is kind, gracious, loving, longsuffering, forgiving, etc. Let me say a couple of things in response to that . . .

#1. God is the creator of the universe! He is Lord over ALL! He is worthy of our full attention and complete obedience! (Do we imagine the angels in heaven have the nerve to treat God the way that we do?) More than once, I sat the children down and told them: ‘I am the boss. This is my house, I am the grown up, and I am the boss. You need to listen to what I say and then be obedient.’ Of course, they would smile and nod . . . and go back to doing what they pleased. Each time we had this talk, I got a little louder, and their eyes got a little wider, but the result was always the same. I can only imagine how God perceives our lack of reverence and respect for Him, demonstrated by our failure to obey Him.

#2. If you truly want to understand God’s character, you need to read the Old Testament. Start with Moses and read through the forty years in the wilderness. God is still the same! He has not changed. He still has the same temperament. He still gets angry–about the same things. Jesus is OUR Moses. How many times did Moses intervene on behalf of the Israelites when God was angry with them? Jesus intervenes for us EVERY DAY! And He DOES have to intervene. God does not just smile or wink when we sin. God hates ALL sin, no matter WHO commits it.

[Jesus only intervenes on behalf of those that are His. If you are not a Christian, God’s wrath towards you is being stored up for the day of your judgment.

‘But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,’ (Romans 2:5-8)]

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