Brian was scheduled to be an usher at his brother’s wedding, but he was a no-show. Understandably, family members were disappointed, including his sister Jasmine who was the Scripture reader for the occasion. At the ceremony she flawlessly read from the well-known Scripture passage about love in 1 Corinthians 13. But after the wedding when her father asked her to deliver a birthday gift to Brian, she hesitated. She found it harder to live the words about love than to read them. Before the evening was over, however, she had a change of mind and admitted, “I can’t stand and read Scripture about love and not practice it.”
Have you ever been convicted by Scripture that you read or heard but found it difficult to carry out? You’re not alone. It’s easier to read and listen to God’s Word than to obey it. That’s why James’s challenge is so fitting: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). His mirror illustration makes us smile because we know what it means to observe something about ourselves that needs attention. But we’re deceived if we think that observing alone is enough. When James nudges us to “[look] intently into” and “[continue] in” God’s truth (v. 25), he encourages us to do what Jasmine was compelled to do—live it. God’s Word calls for it, and He deserves nothing less.
By Arthur Jackson