“But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.”
Hearer or Doer?
Do you ever find yourself needing to be constantly reminded of all the things that need to be done? Are you the one in your household who remembers to take out the trash? Or are you the one who needs to be reminded? Do you do a good job of keeping up with important deadlines? Or do you need more promptings?
Regardless of your ability to accomplish the tasks you’re responsible for, this verse in James 1 is an excellent reminder for us all. It’s altogether way too easy to find ourselves in the more absentminded category. So, when it comes to your commitment to Christ’s truth, are you a forgetful hearer or a heedful doer? James wants us to understand the difference that makes the doer.
The Doer’s Dedication
God knows that we’re just as needy as we are forgetful. And it’s because of His gracious nature that we have this passage of Scripture to remind and empower us of the truths we most need to hear. He calls us to not just hear His words, but to truly listen, and through our listening, be led to action…as doers by definition must simply do.
It takes intention and perseverance to seek and to find the truth in His Word. It requires endurance despite our uncertainty. And it requires consistency in order to keep coming back to the truth that transforms. God continues to make Himself known those who commit to seeking Him. He calls us to be heedful doers rather than forgetful hearers.
Called into Action
We’re not good at remembering the things we’re most inclined to remember—even as some of the most seasoned followers in the faith! We must consistently come back to the truths that we testify: God knows what He’s doing, and He’s invited us into the work of His kingdom. He’s provided us all that we need to take part in His grand plan of redemption. And it takes perseverance, daily action steps, and consistent reminders of the goodness of His gospel.
He calls us to real, loving, sacrificial action, not to merely offer our intellectual assent and call it a day. To persevere and to embody the life of “a doer who works” is to live in step with the Spirit. It means we keep allowing His truth to bring us back to Him. And it means allowing that truth to transform us time and time again. The world needs to see followers of Christ who are committed to His love and to His truth. Be the heedful doer, rather than the forgetful hearer. This is the change that those outside the church most wish to see, and it is the change that we in the church are most desperate to take part in.
Reflect on what it means to be hearer versus a doer. Do the truths that you proclaim lead you to action? Are those around you—both inside and outside the church—able to see His truth transform your life? Consider how your love for God and for others is actively displayed through your faith.