If you’re like me, you have heard more than one Sunday sermon encouraging church-goin’ folks to continuing walking along God’s path for the next six days until we all re-join together as a congregation for another Sunday sermon.
Here’s a scenario.
We spend Monday through Saturday working, studying, doing chores, raising our families, attending activities and doing “Monday through Saturday” stuff. Then along comes Sunday. We polish ourselves up, remove foul language from our vocabulary, set our bad attitudes down on the ground outside of the church door like heavy luggage, go inside, sit down, sing, pray, and hear a fabulous message about our awesome God.
We linger a bit afterward to embrace other believers, friends, to discuss the wonderful sermon and how it applies to our lives. We catch up a bit, using phrases like, “praise God,” or “isn’t Jesus so good?” We promise to pray for each other, and just as we step out of the door of the building, we bend over and pick up that heavy baggage we left there previously.
Sure, the glow of the wonderful sermon may last for the day, but unless we do the Word as well as hear the Word, the Word soon becomes a distant memory, quickly fading into blackness as we resume our post-Sunday-sermon lives.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:23-25 (ESV)
James warns us in verses 19-20 that being slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to anger leads to the unrighteous anger of man, which is the opposite of what God desires for us. Further, he tells us in verse 26-27, If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
We see that we are to do specific tasks, watch what we say, and keep ourselves “unstained from the world.”
In John 17:11, Jesus prayed, I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
In verse 16, he continues, They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
We live here, but we are not of the world. We must keep ourselves unstained from the world we live in while doing God’s good work, among which is caring for orphans and widows!
In Micah 6:8 we read, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
In a nutshell? When we hear the Word, we are do what the Word tells us to do. And if we’re not sure what the Word is telling us to do, supplement prayer with doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our Glorious God!