“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of 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” (James 1:21,22).
NOTHING IS MORE POWERFUL THAN GOD’S WORD, AND YET ITS POWER IS LOST ON THOSE WHO DO NOTHING MORE THAN THINK ABOUT IT. James encouraged his readers to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls,” but he quickly followed that with a reminder that we must “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” It’s a sad fact that those who have the most to say about the power of God’s word often exhibit the least of its power in their own lives.
Our hope should always be that others will be influenced by God’s truth as they come into contact with us. But Oswald Chambers posed a keen question when he asked, “Is the Word of God tremendously penetrating and sharp in me as I hand it on to you, or does my life betray the things I profess to teach?” If what we believe about God is not real to us, if it is flat and dry and colorless, then it is only to be expected that others will find it uninteresting. What could be more unappealing than to be “evangelized” by someone whose Monday-morning lifestyle shows that he doesn’t take his Sunday-morning convictions seriously?
We must not let God become a mere subject to be studied and debated academically. Our ideas about God certainly do matter, and we need to understand that God is honored by worship that is based on truth as well as spirit (John 4:23,24). But even so, the truth about God must not be confined to the intellect. It must command the will and exhilarate the emotions. Godliness is more than a subject to think about: it is a life to be lived. If God is not real, then “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32), but if He is real, then His reality must be allowed to cut down into the very quick of our conscience. We must be moved. We must be transformed. We must pay more than lip service to the truth that God’s word is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12).
“Many who cry out against sin can live comfortably with it in their heart, home, and business. It is possible to learn all about the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one’s soul. Great knowledge is not enough...Talkers and boasters enjoy knowing something. God is pleased when it is done” (John Bunyan).