Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:23-25, NIV*
As a new mom, I thought I could tell my toddler something once—explain it to him—and that would be enough. Before long I was reciting the age-old parental question, “How many times to I have to tell you not to do that?”
Now I understand the reason young children need repeated coaching: they’re still developing cognitive and reasoning skills. We’re often like that with spiritual lessons, or at least I am. I wonder what some of the things are that God has been patiently repeating, waiting for me to process?
In this chapter alone I see a few:
- Pay attention and consciously apply what He says;
- Perspective: see that trials prove I can depend on God-and don’t take them personally;
- Trust God’s character when I’m asking for wisdom; He wants to give it, and I don’t have to convince Him;
- It’s about God, not about me.
He could zap me in some mystical way to “get” the message, and sometimes people do learn in one take… often the hard way. But it seems His preferred method is involving us in the learning. Any teacher will tell us it’s a more effective way to ensure the message sticks.
Instead of passively reading the Bible and then carrying on as usual in our days, let’s stay alert for the verses that really resonate with us. Maybe stick them on the fridge or steering wheel. Think about what they mean in our circumstances. Speak them aloud. After all, they’re our defence against despair and defeat… and one way God wants to grow us.
Father, I confess I tend to wait for You to change me, when You want to involve me in the change. You are the power in the equation. I can’t change myself. But you want to develop my spiritual muscles so I’ll grow up in my faith. Thank You for Your patient teaching. Please help me pay attention and practice what You teach.
Our song this week is “Thy Word,” sung here by the Maranatha Singers.