His Word to the Wise
Read James 1:21-22 (ESV)
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
How does the world decide what is wise? How are believers in Christ supposed to be different?
In the Old Testament book of Judges there is a phrase that eerily applies to our modern culture. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 and 21:25). They had been given the Law and the commandments through Moses and yet, they abandoned them and did whatever they pleased. Over and over again, Judges chronicles the unfaithfulness of God’s people with the phrase, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” They were called to be God’s people, holy and set apart. And yet, they abandoned the ways of God and lived in a way that was indistinguishable from the ways of the pagans.
Right now, the world does whatever they think is right in their own eyes. But even more unfortunate is that many people who claim to be Christians live the same way! This is a big problem because just as the Israelites were called to be set apart from the rest of the world, so are we!
In today’s verses, James says that as believers in Jesus Christ, we should put away all of this worldliness. Just as we shed filthy clothes, we should shed our wickedness and instead humbly put on the “implanted word” which is God’s Word inside of us. James says it is this Word that has the power to save our souls.
When we accept Christ, we receive our salvation. But when we humbly receive the Word that He has implanted in our hearts, He sanctifies us. He makes us new. He makes us more like Him. He sets us apart from the rest of the world.
But simply hearing and reading the Word of God is not enough. We have to put God’s commands into action. In order to be like Christ and different from the world, we have to do what is right in His eyes and not our own!
In Luke 11:28, Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
King David also knew the value of God’s Word. He knew that in order for Israel to be blessed by God, set apart and protected from the world around them, they had to obey God’s commands.
This is what David wrote about God’s Word in Psalm 19:7-12: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors?”
David knew that without God’s law showing us the error of our ways, we would be unable to discern them. He also knew that the reward of God's law was not in merely hearing it. The reward is for those who keep it and live by it. A word to the wise friends—don’t just read the Word. Do the Word.
Lord, Your ways are so much better than my ways and the ways of the world. I want to live in a way that honors you and is set apart from the rest of the world. Show me how to put Your Word into practice today and everyday. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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