The Worst Words I Ever Hear
Thursday - January 14th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 1:21-25
Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says!
"Pastor, I know what the Bible says, BUT..."
I have heard the words above hundreds, if not thousands, of times in my nearly 30 years of pastoral ministry. They break my heart every time. These are the worst words I ever hear! My heart grieves when any follower of Christ in my life (family, friend, co-worker, or parishioner) says they understand clearly what God says in His Word, but they are choosing not to follow what He says.
Ignorance is one thing. Apathy and rebellion are a whole other thing. James 1:22 states that when we know what God says in His Word about how we should live and then choose to live apart from that, we carry out a deception. We don't deceive others. We deceive ourselves. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!"
If someone listens to but doesn't practice what God's Word says, they deceive themselves. They deceive themselves by holding an underlying belief that ignoring God's Word and living how they want to live will bring greater satisfaction and happiness than obeying God. How foolish!
The grand deception of humanity that Satan launched in the Garden of Eden is that God's way for us to live is not the best way to live. Although God designed and created us, Satan convinces us that God holds back or keeps us from the greatest satisfaction and happiness in life. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that the one tree from which God had forbidden them to eat was the key to their happiness and fulfillment. What a lie!
God holds nothing back from His Children. He holds nothing back from you. He wants you to have a deeply satisfying life as you walk with Him. When we are saved by the grace found in Jesus, God wants us to experience total fulfillment and joy every day of our lives. For us to believe that embracing any form of lust, pride, or greed will somehow give us something better than God can give us is beyond foolish! What have you done, what relationship are you in, what choice have you made because you deceived yourself into believing it offers you something greater than God offers you?
Too many Christians nod in approval of what God's Word says and then walk away and never obey it. They believe the lie that something else will provide them greater satisfaction. They deceive themselves. In so doing, they miss the best God has to offer them as His children! That grieves God. It grieves me as a pastor. And, it should grieve any of us that hear a brother or sister in Christ say, "I know what the Bible says, BUT..."
We deceive ourselves when we believe the way we choose to live will satisfy us more than the way God calls us to live!