“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
I love to study. Really. When a topic lights my fire, I am consumed with acquiring all the information I can about it. That book on Amazon with the 5 Star review? Into my shopping cart it goes. The author has a social media platform? I’m now a follower. You have a slight interest in the subject? Here’s a podcast you should listen to, and you can also borrow some of my reading material. Be sure to pay special attention to the color-coded highlighting and notes in the margin!
Honestly, I would be a professional student if the pay was good enough. The shelves in my office overflow with books about fitness and nutrition. Based on all I’ve learned, I should be the healthiest woman on the planet. So why do I still struggle with food choices and working out?
Because there is a difference between knowing vs. doing. When information gets stuck in my head and never makes its way to my extremities, it’s useless. I can learn all there is to know about something, but if I don’t put that knowledge to work, nothing changes. I fool myself when I think I’m doing all the right things just because I know what the right things are.
We often do the same thing with God’s Word. We read the Bible. We devour books and articles written by well-known ministry leaders. We tune into religious podcasts and follow spiritual celebrities. We feel a quickening in our spirit or a prick of conscience, but soon after we revert back to unhealthy habits and behaviors. However, listening and doing are two sides of the same coin; both are necessary to make change happen.
James 1:22 warns us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
It’s a strong reminder we need to actually do something with the knowledge we acquire. Otherwise it’s wasted education. Not only that, we can dupe ourselves into thinking we are experts on a subject and qualified to lead others when in reality we don’t even take our own advice. We may deceive ourselves, but God sees through us. People do, too, and respect is lost. Worse, they may choose to not follow Jesus because of the example we set. We need both knowledge and action in order to make a positive impact in our own lives and in the world around us.
True leaders walk the talk, which is crucial – even if the only person you are leading is yourself. Ask God for wisdom and direction, which is the key to transformation. Once you know the right thing to do, make every effort to actually do it. And be sure to pray for guidance along the way. Then you’ll reap the blessing of good health in every aspect – body, mind, soul and spirit.
Lord, open my eyes to see where I am deceiving myself, and lead me in your truth. Health and healing come from living out your Word. It doesn’t come by merely listening, but by acting in obedience. Let your Book, more than any other, teach me the right thing to do, and give me the wisdom and discernment to act upon what I learn. In the name of Jesus, Amen.