...it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. So don’t fool yourselves. -James 1:22b, TLB
In the book of James, we are urged to be doers of the Word of God, not just hearers. It is so easy to sit back and listen to a preacher, agreeing with every word but never applying it to our lives. So what does it mean to be a Doer of the word of God?
To sum it up, being a doer of the Word means to obey. It means to take heed and actively apply it in every aspect of your life. The Holy Spirit was sent by God to help us and it is the power that transforms us from within. Yet, transformation does not happen without our cooperation. We are not going to miraculously obey God without our will. We have to make consciously make decisions daily to obey.
Obey God's message! Don't fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don't obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget. -James 1:22-25, CEV
How many times have you heard a "good word" that pierced your heart and you rededicated yourself to the Lord? But no less than two weeks later you totally forgot your "Jesus moment" and went back to your old ways? As James put it: you stared at yourself in a mirror and forgot what you looked like.
We have to be steadfast in the Word of God and intentional in understanding it so we may do it. If we don't have an understanding of God's Ways, how are we to follow them?
The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation). -Proverbs 4:7, AMPC
In Matthew 21:28-31 Jesus told the parable of the two sons:
Jesus said to his critics, “Tell me what you think of this parable: “There once was a man with two sons. The father came to the first and said, ‘Son, I want you to go and work in the vineyard today.’ The son replied, ‘I’d rather not.’ But afterward, he deeply regretted what he said to his father, changed his mind, and decided to go to the vineyard. The father approached the second son and said the same thing to him. The son replied, ‘Father, I will go and do as you said.’ But he never did—he didn’t go to the vineyard. Tell me now, which of these two sons did the will of his father?” (The Passion Translation)
In the parable above, the son that did the will his father was the one who decided to obey and fulfill his father's desire to go and work in the vineyard. The son who heard, and even agreed, but never did- he did not obey and fulfill his father's desire. This proves that hearing and agreeing is not the same as doing. Even if you heard and disagreed in the beginning, but later repented and did what was asked of you, you will be rewarded.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! -2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV
We must examine ourselves to determine if we really are followers of Christ. Calling ourselves followers of Christ but never actively following His way of doing things is hypocritical and dangerous. To ensure that we live according to Christ's teachings, we must constantly evaluate our lives and actions. Otherwise, we are in danger of becoming self-righteous and judgmental, grieving the Holy Spirit, and displeasing God. Let us set our minds to be doers and not just hearers, obeying and fulfilling the will of our Father.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. -2 Peter 1:10-11, NLT