James 1:22-25 (ESV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
I have been blessed to work in the field of IT, Information Technology, for the last 9 years. It has been a blessing because it has provided for my family and it has been work that is challenging and different almost every day. Much of IT work involves solving problems and helping others be productive. One of the key skills needed by IT professionals is the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems that don’t have a readily apparent solution. I would say one drawback to the variety and variance of IT work is that often the problems you are solving don’t often occur or reoccur with great frequency. You might troubleshoot and solve a problem today that doesn’t show up again for a month, a year, or several years. The challenge is to make sure that you have documented the fixes you discovered during the troubleshooting process and then keep yourself familiar with them so that the next time the issue arises you can quickly address it. Many times the pace of the work or the lack of discipline results in solutions going undocumented. You may end up spending a good amount of time and effort in solving the same problem you have faced in the past. Thinking about the verses above from James 1 made me realize that our Christian walk can sometimes be similar to IT work.
What James is teaching us is that we have to be people of action. It is not sufficient to just have an intellectual understanding of our faith. Like in IT, I can understand all day long how a program works or how a PC is suppose to run but if I am not engaging that software or putting my PC to use then nothing is actually being produced. I can stare at this program I use to write my blog all day fully understanding the ins and outs of how it works and how it formats text and how it publishes blogs entries it to the Internet, but until I take to the keyboard to write and create my knowledge is somewhat useless.
A second concept in this passage from James is the idea that what we don’t use we lose. Just like my IT scenario, if I don’t stay familiar with the programs, and the hardware, and the troubleshooting solutions I discover I will struggle every time when it comes to fixing an issue, even issues I have dealt with before. Likewise in our Christian walk if we don’t stay familiar with the commands God has given us and consistently translate that knowledge into action we run the risk of forgetting what our faith is all about. We open ourselves up to the sin that ensnared us prior to coming to Jesus and give opportunity to the world to influence us in a way that is contrary to God.
So what is the application?
For me these scriptures challenge me to do two things thing with great consistency. 1)Seek God in the Word and in prayer, and 2)Intentionally do things that translate my knowledge of faith into action. Both of these ideas are not difficult but they take commitment on our parts. Sometimes we forget that God has given us His Spirit to lead and guide us into all righteousness. I think we each need to make sure we are making time for God and actively looking for opportunities to serve and minister the Gospel to people who need it. I would submit that almost every city or town has a place where we could go to help the poor. I would also submit that even in our own circle of influence there are those who are in physical and spiritual need. We should push ourselves to take the knowledge of needs we see around us and translate it into action that helps needy and gives glory and honor to God.
Heavenly Father, thank you God for your Word. Help us apply what we have read today. I pray that you would speak to us and show us the opportunities to put our faith into action. Help us pursue you the way you pursued us and help us to never stray so far from our faith that we have to again figure out what it means to follow you. Make us mindful of those who are in need. We offer you praise. In Jesus name, Amen.