More Than a Hearer
By Patrice Williams
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25 ESV
Last October we got a new puppy. I’m still not sure what happened. One minute my boys and I were at the flea market looking for antique NASCAR stuff, and the next minute we were in a sketchy Halloween store with a “Shih Tzu Puppies” sign on the door, being sucked in by furry black and white puppies with smooshy faces.
Oh isn’t that one that just pooped everywhere so cute? Oh did you see that adorable one that’s biting all the other ones? Oh puppy breath! It smells so gooood. Like skunk, kinda.” My husband (the voice of reason in our family) was obviously not with us. A couple hours later, BOOM, new puppy, and a whole new set of problems.
I love our puppy. I really do. Even when I get up in the middle of night to go to the bathroom, the puppy has pooped in the floor, and I step right in it, I still love him. (I don’t know why, but it may have something to do with the fact that he never gets an attitude, doesn’t talk back, and always eats his dinner without complaint.)
My grandmother got my 9-year-old a book called, “How to Train Your Puppy.” We were up at her house one day, and my son was laid back on the recliner reading it. As he read, the poor puppy circled by the door, needing to go out.
My son completely ignored the dog and continued reading. Poor Puppy then peed all over the floor. In my calm motherly way, I shrieked, “BUDDY! Why did you not take your dog out to go to the bathroom?” “MOM,” he responded seriously, “I was reading.”
What book was he reading? A book on how to get your dog to NOT pee all over your floor.
I’ve thought about that scenario a lot since it happened and realized that I am guilty of the exact same thing. I often read God’s Word, but when life interrupts me, and God is nudging me to open the door for goodness sakes, instead of taking action to actually DO what the Good Book is telling me, I sit back, reclined, and just keep on reading.
Don’t get me wrong. Reading the Bible is good, and we should do it. A lot. But often we read and read and do Bible study after Bible study (Hey Beth Moore, holla at your girl!), but we stop there. We never take that next step. We remain mostly unchanged, never allowing God’s words to truly penetrate our heart, never letting His Spirit compel us to act.
James 1:22-25 says we are to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. I think, as a culture in general, we are good at going through the motions, but many of us stop at the hearing.
God does not call us to be casual bystanders while those in need are begging for help. God forbid we stay reclined in our comfort, while there are broken people all around us, needing us to ACT.
I wonder how many times God has looked at us and thought, “CHILD, why will you not DO what that Book says?” My prayer for us, Friends, is that we ask the Spirit to move, to show us how to act in obedience to God’s words, and to become DOERS in a world (and often churches) of mostly hearers.
God has been so gracious to give us His Word as a guide for our lives and an instruction manual on how to be more and more like Him. May He forgive us for the times we’ve remained unchanged, not allowing ourselves to be transformed by the power of His Word and His Spirit.
Let’s ask Him today for new vision, open hearts, ears that truly hear, and hands and feet that are ready and willing to take action!
Dear Lord, change me with Your Word. Convict me to not only read Your words, but to be a woman of action. Give me ears to hear, a heart of compassion, and a body that is ready to go and do what You’ve asked. Move me to obedience, and bless me in the doing. Help me to be completely poured out for You, always and forever Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2021 by Patrice Williams. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 09 August 2021.