Daily Devotional

James 1:22 - "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (ESV)

In 1314, a huge threat to the national security of England was discovered. This threat was leading the nation’s youth down a bad path and was causing adults to completely shirk their responsibilities. King Edward II knew he had to do something, so he took action…and banned the sport of soccer.
That’s right, soccer was deemed a national threat. Edward issued the following royal edict, “We command and forbid on behalf of the King, on pain of imprisonment, such games to be used.” This wasn’t the last time a king banned the sport of soccer; King Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV all made similar bans. In 1457 King James II of Scotland took it a step further and not only banned soccer but golf as well. In 1491 Scotland’s King James IV issued a decree stating, “It is statute and ordained that in no place of the realm there be used Fute-ball, Golf, or other unprofitable sports.”

This all might seem strange, but there was some reasoning to these bans. Soccer and other sports were deemed “unprofitable” because they were distracting the men from archery practice. Without trained archers in peacetime, there would be no effective archers when it came to times of war. All these kings knew a simple truth; they needed their soldiers to be ready for action.

Likewise, James wants all soldiers in God’s army to be ready for action. James wants all believers to have a working faith. If we’re going to have a working faith, then we need to have a faith that works, or one that takes action. If we truly hear the Word of God, then it should naturally lead to action. It’s one thing to say we believe something, but we prove it with how we behave. We might be able to go through the motions and put on the right look to fool others, but James says if we have a faith that doesn’t do anything then we’re really just fooling ourselves.

We should hear and read God’s Word, but we should also put what it says into action, otherwise what’s the point? James goes on to say that anyone who just hears the Word without putting it into action is like someone who looks at their face in a mirror but then immediately forgets what it looks like when they leave.

The purpose of a mirror is to examine ourselves externally. If you looked in a mirror and saw a giant smudge across your face, commonsense would say that you would address it and do something to fix the problem. The Word of God helps us to examine ourselves internally. If we hold up the Word and see some problems in our spiritual lives then commonsense would say we should address it. Just seeing the problem isn’t enough, we have to take action. Hearing the Word is important, but it’s just the beginning. We not only need to be hearers of the Word, but doers as well.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.