"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
Working on the theory that James is talking about his near relative or possibly half-brother puts a whole different spin on this verse as well. The church is fond of talking about "following Jesus" in some vague way as though there were a set of precepts written down somewhere; that if we would only follow them, we would achieve whatever it was that Jesus wanted of us.
But being a "doer" of the implanted word? This is much more "soulish" stuff. This is listening to something deep in your heart and doing what it tells you. Now before we go off in a flight of self-awareness and end up in post-modernism again, let's understand that the Spirit of God won't say anything in your heart that He wouldn't have said in Scripture. I've had people tell me the Spirit within them was telling them to do all kinds of things that were "good for their growth" or "just feel right" that God clearly speaks against in the Word.
If I want to drink to excess, for instance, it may be something I feel I "just need to get out of my system", but let's be honest: God isn't prodding me to do it. Conversely, I don't think it takes Satan or even one of his junior tempters to make me overly curious about what the people in my life are doing. That's one of my sins. I used to think I was being faithful to Christ on this one. After all, how was I to offer correction and help them grow if I didn't know what they were really up to? This kind of advanced paranoia most certainly is not "doing" the logos of God. It also isn't something conjured up as a temptation from some little smoldering fellow sitting on my shoulder. My own black heart is perfectly capable to this without any help at all.
In order for me to become a doer of the implanted word I have to know him at the deepest level. I can't know or even hope to recover "Jesus" -- the man who walked the earth 2000 years ago -- any more than I can know or recover George Washington. The human being who lived among us is lost to history. THIS is not the logos. Jesus was an expression of the logos of God in the fullness of being and time. And for us it must be enough that we believe that he was "the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father." We give ascent to the Creed because the reality is lost to us as he himself promised. He has indeed gone away and has left us another Comforter.
Now the Holy Spirit informs my black heart. He speaks truth -- inconvenient, upsetting, I-want-to-shut-it-out TRUTH to my inmost being because that is where he IS. He also speaks comfort, grace, beauty, love, and all the highest and best that God has to offer. I can't have one without the other.
And so I am left devastated before a God who has spoken truly to my heart. My personality is very slow to get up off the couch and actually do something. I'm basically lazy. But the Voice of God is persistent, thank God. And he continues to speak until the doing of his word is satisfied in my actions.
Pastoral Relief and Retreat
- Wethersfield, CT, United States
- I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.