“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22
James writes these words to believers who are dispersed around the world. He writes at a time when those who followed Jesus were still considered a cult. They had not yet been given the name “Christian.” He is encouraging them as well as calling them to accountability. They must act, be doers, rather than merely hearers of God’s message.
James advises, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (v. 19). What would the world, or just our neighborhood, look like if we were to follow this advice? How many times do we interrupt someone in the midst of what they are saying to insert our differing opinion? And when we interrupt, do we do it with good grace or with anger? It’s so easy to believe, “I’m right; therefore, you’re wrong!” We live in a contentious society today. More so than in James’ day? I wonder. There was the same backbiting then as there is today. There were the same hungry, suffering, and lost just like today. Their world may not have been as complicated as ours, but their problems were likely similar.
Remember the old saying, “Walk your talk”? It’s very akin to the saying, “Practice what you preach.” In order to do that, we must live like what we say we are. Are we Christians? How do we live that out effectively? We are called to care for others as much as we care for ourselves. If we expect others to treat us fairly, then we must do the same. If we want others to forgive us, we have to be willing to forgive them. I admit that’s a tough one. How often have I thought, “I’ll never forgive that person for….” And, yet we read in the Lord’s prayer that we must forgive others like we want to be forgiven by God. I’ll admit it is often hard to “walk our talk.” We have to constantly be aware of who we are as Christians, remember the grace we’ve been given, and be willing to watch our words and actions.
Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, was an example of someone who truly “walked his talk.” He would be eating dinner out and stop and ask a waitress if she knew Jesus. He had a passion to in his words, “to carry the Gospel to every living person on earth.” Quite a mission. We might not be called to the scope of influence that he was, but we are called nonetheless to be the people of God right where we are placed. We are called to walk our talk in our homes, our communities, our churches and wherever we go.
How difficult is it for you to “walk your talk”? Why do you feel that way? Where in your life is it the most difficult? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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