Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
My dog has instincts. Around the same time every day, he will get up off his bed, walk over to me and stare, signaling it is time for his walk. With my mask and a bag full of sharp cheddar cheese in hand, we head out towards the park. We've had Milo since he was a puppy. Around the time he turned one, he developed fear aggression which causes him to get overly excited and scared at the same time, especially when he sees another dog. But alas, the cheese. For the most part, when my dog sees another dog, he will turn away and look towards me for a nice smelly chunk of cheese that awaits him. We have walked him down the very same street with the exact same routine the last 3 years. It is the same drill every day. Yet more often than not, Milo will see another dog, lunge forward, do a mean small dog growl and turn and look at me as if to say "Oops... cheese?" Remembering I hold the yummy squishy cheese is just sometimes not enough; Milo gives in to his instincts.
Human beings also have instincts. Although a fruit of the Spirit, it is easy to lose my patience when I've had to repeat myself more than twice. Jesus teaches of humility, but I get frustrated when I am misunderstood. I want to speak more than I want to listen even though the Bible tells me I should be quick to listen. Most of the time, these reactions are habitual. It is not hard, having been a Christian for most of my life, to come across a familiar passage and breeze right through it. However, in our passage today, James reminds us of the importance of acting upon what we hear. It is simply not enough to read God’s word and go about my day. God wants me to take it in and allow His word to change my heart. I love the NASB translation of James 1:25: “But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does.“
I am so thankful God calls us His own. Though we will always be a work in progress, He loves us for who we are. And what's more, He has given us His word to guide us along the way. It is perfect. It brings freedom. And if we stick with it, we will be blessed.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
— James 1:22-24
Prayer to start with: Jesus, how sweet it is to be loved by you. Thank you, Father, that we belong to you. Holy Spirit, thank you that you are actively moving in our lives. Give us a fresh and renewed desire for your Word that it would do a deep work in our hearts.