James gives us some sage advice, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 1:22)” One starlit evening after the Christmas banquet, my date drove me to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to look out over the basin. The park was closed and he drove in the exit! As we walked around the observatory and looked at L.A. aglow, he shared about being at independence day of the country he grew up in. I must admit I was listening but my eye was searching for a restroom and aware of the druggies shooting up in the shadows. It suddenly occurred to me that this was an important story. I turned to him and asked, “What are you talking about?” He looked at me and said, “I want to go from independence to interdependence and change my flag. Will you marry me?” Listening went to a whole new level. These words he shared were a call to action and commitment.
How often do we sit and listen, kind of, but our mind is somehow engaged on other issues. I’m not convinced that is all bad as I find the words in a sermon trigger an application scenario from my life I want to think about but James warns us that we can be deceiving ourselves, nodding our heads but really focusing on our own ponderings. God’s word is not just entertainment but as James will go on to say, a mirror that reflects reality to me and calls me to action or integration of faith with my life.
Proverbs 3:11 reminds me, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father the son he delights in.” As you read God’s word, may you act on what challenges you to grow but also absorb the promises that comforts you in the process. You are the child he delights in and he will not ignore you. Blessings.