Daily Devotional Monday 23rd Novemberby William Moody
Hearing and Doing the Word
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 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.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Holiness is not about giving our opinion but about taking to heart what God’s Word teaches (v19). One of the big stumbling blocks hindering the living of a holy life James says is anger (v19b-20). Probably the word here would be better translated as passions or covetous desires. Within the believer the enemy to righteous living are the desires which battle within (see 4 v1).
There has to be a conscious rejection of that which is morally unclean and wicked and replacing it with God’s truth (v21). This is repentance which needs to be ongoing in a believer’s life for growth and holiness.
Not responding properly to God’s word by rejecting that which is sinful, is like someone looking in the mirror but who doesn’t do anything about the dirt he sees (v22-24). God’s law is not restrictive to a life of joy but real freedom and blessing are to be found from observing and obeying God’s Word (v25).
James summarises acceptable religion as including three things (v26-27): a. keeping a reign of your tongue; b. caring for the needy such as orphans and widows and c. keeping yourself from being polluted by the world.
Pray about how you’re doing in regard to these three parts of true religion.
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