“State-of-the-art!” . . . “Extraordinary!” . . . “Greatest ever!” These are only a few of the claims I heard as I sat in the waiting area of a doctor’s office. Infomercial after infomercial made one promise after another regarding these “new and improved” products, procedures, and practices that would absolutely, instantaneously, and permanently change my life for good. The cream would take away wrinkles, the injection would melt away fat, and the resistance bands would lower blood sugar and hand me a six-pack after only 15 minutes of use a day for one week. We are bombarded with these types of boasts on a daily basis as we tune into television shows, read magazine articles, scroll through social media feed, and as we skim the latest political campaign slogan. Everyone is promising us something.
But, according to James, Jesus’ brother and a former leader in the Jerusalem church, talk is cheap.
“God is good!” . . . “All the time!” . . . “Won’t He do it!” . . . “Just Believe!” . . . “Girl . . .you ought to come to my church!” . . . Christians also make claims but are often guilty of contradicting these claims with our actions.
When presented with an opportunity to expose such contradictions and to teach right Christian behavior, James wrote this book of the Bible. The good news is his message was not only for Jewish Christians living in Gentile communities in A.D. 49, rather it applies to all Christians everywhere, even in this present day.
James chapter 1 verses 22-25 read:
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life! —even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (MSG)
James is encouraging us to go beyond just having all the right answers and on to living out the gospel with our lives. Genuine faith will produce good works. Period. No exceptions.
It is important for us to listen to what God’s Word says and to obey it, to do what it says. We can measure the impact of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behavior and attitudes. If we notice some conflict between what His Word says, what we profess to others, and what we do, that is a call for us to go deeper. During those times, we can pray specifically about the area in which we are struggling to obey, we can ask a friend for help, and/or take advantage of other resources to tackle our issue head on!
We were not created to be distracted scatterbrains! We are called to be women of action!
While talk is indeed cheap, action is indeed delightful.