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 (NKJ)
We all know the commercial, at least those who live in the U.S.A. do, where the spokesperson for Godfather's Pizza says, "It's a pizza you can't refuse. You know you want one. Order it now." Then he looks right into the camera, stares you in the eye and says, "DO it!" He wants to make sure you're not just hearing how delicious their pizzas are but that you do something about it too.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock." Luke was a little more direct when he quoted Jesus' words, "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?" (see Luke 6:46)
Once you receive the implanted Word of God in your spirit, God then tells you what the next step is. "Just DO it," He says. However, if you find yourself struggling to hear AND obey the implanted Word of God, there may be a deeper issue. You see, not only does Jesus give reference to a wise man but also to a foolish man. A foolish man is one who hears the Word of God but refuses to be a doer of it. Let's take a closer look at the passage in Luke 6:46-49.
Now remember, these are Jesus' words: "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
If you're struggling with being "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (vs. 19) or if you can't "lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness" (vs. 20) as a result of your wrath, maybe the deeper issue is Lordship. Again, I don't want to diminish your pain if your wrath is a result of you being wounded. But at the same time, God doesn't want you to be stuck there because that is a miserably, dreadful place for you to be: stuck. It's like the movie, "Groundhog's Day" where the man lives the same day over and over again. God doesn't want you to continue to revisit your pain over and over again.
Before we continue our study in James, maybe it would be good to take the time to understand what is meant for Jesus to be the Lord of your (and my) life. It's one thing for Him to be your Savior where you drink the sincere milk of the Word but He wants you to mature so you can enjoy the meat of His word as well. To do that you (and I) need to understand the authority of God in your life. Don't worry. The next devotional will not be a heavy-handed tirade about you submitting in fear to His great, terrible and powerful authority. There won't be earthquakes and lightening. In fact, it has more to do with trusting His love and submitting to it because He really does know what is best for your life. And it's about building that trust on The Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Application of God's Word:
1. Read Matthew 7:24-29 and Luke 6:46-49. Is there an area of your life where you feel you are struggling with obeying what it is you hear God telling you to do? Why do you suppose that is the case?
2. If you are struggling with being a "doer" of God's Word, under no circumstances am I calling you a fool. (Also, "doer" isn't in reference to busyness but in reference to being obedient and doing what God says to do.)
3. If you are stuck and find you are reliving pain inflicted by someone, just know that God wants to help you break free from your "Groundhog's Day" existence and bring you into a place of healing and freedom.
Gosh. I'm at a loss for words. Right now I don't have any answers. I do know Jesus wants to be the Lord of our lives, and He wants us to be doers of His Word, and He wants to bring healing to those areas of pain we keep revisiting, and He wants to be The Rock on which we build our lives. I do know He wants us to trust Him enough in obedience to lay down our wrath so we can be "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." I know He doesn't want us to deceive ourselves into thinking our disobedience isn't hurting us because it is. I just don't know all the how's of it yet. I'll dig a little more into the Bible and see what I find. How about you? Maybe you have some insight into what it truly means for Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. I'd love to hear from you.