The Book of James – Walk the Talk

James 1:22-27 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.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.  Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

In the previous section of this chapter James wrote, we are to be quick to listen. As Christians, we know that God speaks and we are to listen. But what does it entail to be good listener? A good listener doesn’t stop with just listening but responding to what we listen by obeying and living it out. So, what kind of listener are you?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.”

Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). When Christ takes a hold of us, his presence in us should transform us, just as Paul wrote that His grace was not without effect in himself. Pause, and ask yourself what impact did hearing the word of God have on you? The question that then remain is, what effect is it still having on you?

James admonishes that we are to be doers of the word, merely listening is not enough. Why? Because faith without deeds is dead (James 2). True faith expresses itself in a manner that is God honoring and glorifying.

Why is there so much of a struggle between hearing and doing – SELF comes in between – our comfort, desires, not wanting to be held accountable are some of the things that cause a hindrance. We then have to ask ourselves what kind of soil are we. When we read the parable of the Sower in Mathew 13, we come across four types of soil that receive the seed (word of God). The Pathway, Rocky, thorny and good soil. The kind of soil indicates receptiveness to the gospel. You may have accepted Christ into your life and therefore consider yourself good soil. But does the condition of the soil of your heart still remain receptive to God’s teaching, leading and moulding. Good soil/heart remains sensitive and open to God. It actively listens, understands, and applies (obeys). Good soil/ heart is humble and is honestly self-reflective.

Take a moment to reflect, as the caretaker of the soil of your heart – how are you nourishing it so that it remains fertile for the word of God that was planted to take root and continue growing?  How are you handling the weeds that keep cropping up trying to stifle the word planted in you?

In this passage, James talks about deceiving oneself when we claim to have faith but it is not evident in how we live.

Deceiving is to refuse to believe something because you choose not to. We often speak about guarding ourselves against deception that comes from another source, but what about deception that can come from within, self-deception.

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is more deceitful than all else.” This verse reminds us that if we only use our feelings as a measure then the possibility of deceiving ourselves exits.

One of the things that can mislead us to self-deception is having different measures for what the truth is, for moral values, and for right and wrong. The concept of doing whatever feels good for you is a slippery slope. And often, when we are inclined to allow self-deception to exist in certain areas, we search and find a reason to justify.

What can lead us to self-deceive

Pride The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ (Obadiah 1:3).

Pride can blind to the truth and harden one’s heart to correction.

Fear – the fear of facing consequences, not wanting to face the discomfort of confronting and changing certain behaviors can lead to either brushing it under the rug where one surrounds themselves with likeminded people or cling onto false teaching that justifies such behaviors.  

James likens the one who only hears but does not live out the word as one who looks at his reflection and forgets what he looks like. God’s word is meant to be a mirror that helps us see our true nature, in light of what Christ is. What truly matters is the action taken following the glance into the word.

When we go to the doctor, if we listen to his advice but do not do what he says, will there be any change in our condition? Similarly, for there to be transformation within us, the words and teachings we listen to have to travel deep within us beyond the surface into our hearts and impact our behavior. In John 14:17 the Holy Spirit is referred to as the spirit of truth, when the spirit convicts, allow that conviction to spiritually grow and mold you.

The Do’s and Do nots in this passage are not meant to be restrictive but to lead us to live in the fullness and righteousness that God intends for us. As James writes in verse 25, we are blessed in what we do when we look into the perfect law that gives freedom.

“Our true freedom is found in the environment that we are to flourish in and that is obedience to God’s word (James commentary, S.Allberry, pg 51).

James also writes about keeping a tight rein on one’s tongue. Scripture teaches us that we are not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouth (Ephesians 4:29). To be a witness for Christ in any form in the world, is lost, if our words are hurtful and if our actions do not follow what we claim to believe. If all we do is speak and not truly care for those in need, we do not reflect Christ. Faith expressing itself through love is what counts.

Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” May we remember these words and with humility submit to the Lord’s work within us, refining us and may we wholeheartedly obey the Lord by being doers of the word.

God Bless.

35 thoughts on “The Book of James – Walk the Talk

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  1. These verses are always a needed reminder that our faith must become action. We have to do what we need to do for there to be a difference. Pride and fear can definitely hinder our progress if we do not give them over to God and receive His help. Thank you Manu! 🤗

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  2. I always love to see the mix of Old and New Testament references. We can’t have one without the other and here you have done them great justice. You have also brought reality of our lives into focus to understand. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. This post! It has really touched me and given me so much to ponder. Sometimes I feel like Paul when he says he does the things he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do what he does want to do. Yes we might spend time in God’s Word daily, but do we allow Jesus to mold us and change us along the way? That is vital in our walk. I appreciate your point about “self” coming between our hearing and doing. Part of our walk with Jesus is learning to die to self. But in the end there is so much freedom to gain. I love the verse you put towards the end from Psalm 139. If we can get that into our hearts, it will help change our patterns. I am going to be rereading this post, because there is so much truth I need to soak up. Thank you, my friend! Blessings to you. I pray you and your family have a good weekend. ♥️

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    1. I can relate to that Paul comment of doing what he does not want to.
      I love the verse in Psalm 139, it truly is a prayer to ask God to reveal and change us but also recognises the importance of our willing surrender for the same.
      So glad you really liked this post.
      Thank you so much my friend
      Have a wonderful weekend ahead 💙

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  4. Manu, thanks for this enlightening post. We have to transform ourselves; we have to let go of pride and self-centeredness and embrace God’s word and teaching. We have to take time to make sure worldly weeds aren’t blocking our perspective. We need to be still, listen, and pray for God to search our hearts and direct us.
    Love the dog photo, looks like he’s listening. 😊
    Have a wonderful weekend! 💖✨🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jeanne. Yes 😊, the dog photo was a reflection of the intent listening and readiness to do what his master told him to which we must emulate too when to comes to our Father.
      Have a wonderful weekend too my friend 🤗💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries Mandy. I don’t expect you to be replying immediately considering the work your studying will entail. I don’t mind at all. Just wanted to know how you are going and I thought a quick message will be more doable for you now than an email. Take care 🤗 and I pray that you have a restful weekend ahead even if you have got lots to do, you will feel rested and on top of all your to do lists.

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      2. I really liked that quote about flourishing and obedience too! And I love the example of listening to a doctor. It’s such a relatable idea that should cause us to think of our spiritual health.

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  5. Thanks for sharing on this. It’s always easier for us to listen but for reasons you have mentioned, we forget to take action with these words.

    May we be bold enough to act with God’s words and trust Him enough too, to do as He leads us. 🙌🏼

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    1. I agree Mercy. It is easier to listen and so much harder to put what we hear into practice.
      May we indeed step out and be courageous enough to follow through with action.
      Thank you and have a wonderful weekend 😊💙

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  6. Love the wisdom in James. It provides a much needed challenge to our tendency as believers to fall into complacency. It isn’t the action that saves us but it is the action that ought to grow in us as a result of salvation and thereby hopefully bring others to know His truth. Thank you for the great way you have opened up this passage. I really look forward to these posts. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Marisa. We do tend to get complacent and reading passages like in James challenges us to get out of that stupor and recalibrate.
      Thank you my friend and I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead 😊💙

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for this reminder sis. Living our life hearing and not doing will only qualify us to be among those who will cry in Mathew 7:21-23 “Lord Lord”…… because we lived our lives deceiving ourselves only to be told ‘I don’t know you’…. The only faith that God recognizes is faith accompanied by works. Psalms 139 is my prayer too🙏

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  8. I love the analogy of the soil. Soil does need to be nourished and replenished, fertilizer and watered in order to remain good soil. Thankfully we have God’s word and the Holy Spirit who reminds us to seek Him continually, to pray unceasingly and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. ❤ Thank you, Manu, for sharing what God puts on your heart.

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