Doers of The Word

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “As the Deer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 1 (ESV).

Various Trials

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:


Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

A trial is a test, hardship, suffering, trouble or difficulty we encounter in the course of everyday life. Sometimes we forget that we are destined for these and thus, when they come our way, we can be taken back by them and caught off guard. We can lose our footing and even trip and fall (emotionally and/or spiritually) because we are not mentally and spiritually prepared for that reality, and thus we might be easily shaken by the trials of our lives. Also, if we do not understand that trials are normal, and thus should be expected, and/or if we don’t understand or trust in the sovereignty of God over our lives, we might have a tendency to lose faith and hope, to give up, to retreat or run away, or to take matters into our own hands and feel we have to make something happen our way.

Yet, if we understand and accept the fact that trials are normal, that we are destined for them, that they are for our good, and that God is absolutely in control over all things, then we can be at peace even in the midst of the storms of life. For, our trials serve multiple purposes in our lives, one of which is to help us to grow in our faith, to draw us nearer to our God, and to assist in developing within us godly character, determination, and stick-to-itiveness. Another purpose for our trials is that we might comfort others in their trials with the comfort we received from God when we were going through difficulties. As well, our trials serve the purpose to humble us and to get us to not rely upon our own selves and upon our own resources, but that our dependency might be fully in the Lord (See 2 Co. 1). So, when trials come our way, we must put our trust in God, believing that he has all things under his control, and pray for wisdom to know how we are to respond to them.

Ask God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

When we pray for wisdom, though, we must believe that God will give it to us. We should not doubt him or second guess him by retreating to following our own ways of thinking and reasoning, and by taking matters into our own hands in order to make our circumstances work out the way we want them to. We must yield to God, trust him to work things out for our good, and ask for wisdom. As well, we must believe him when he gives us the wisdom, and we should act on the wisdom he gives us. Sometimes he just says “Wait, trust me.” And, sometimes we don’t like that answer, and we want something different. So, trust Him!


Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Sometimes we think we know better than God. If asked if that is true, we might readily deny this, but our actions often speak louder than our words. Oftentimes we allow pride to get in the way of hearing the Lord and in the way of following after him and after his will for our lives. Frequently we might even put on masks (fronts) to convince others and ourselves that we are super spiritual because we don’t want to humble ourselves before others by admitting that we don’t have it altogether. Or, perhaps we are giving way to sin, and we don’t want others to know, because they might judge us or think less of us, or they might try to convince us that we have to change, and we don’t want to change. Yet, there is no cause for any of us to be prideful, for all that we have that is good is from God, and all that we have gained in our own flesh is destined to perish. So, what benefit do we gain by being prideful and full of ourselves? None! So, it is better to humble ourselves before God, to trust him with our lives, and to seek after what is of God’s heavenly kingdom.

Remain Steadfast

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

I am so glad we serve a God who is totally trustworthy, honest, holy, righteous, and who does not change at the whim of a moment. We can depend on him to always be who he is. We can believe in his promises, and we can count on him to do what he says he will do. In a world full of people who lie, cheat, steal, and deceive on a regular basis, isn’t it wonderful that we have a Lord who is completely trustworthy, who does not lie to us, and who will never abandon us? I find much comfort in knowing and believing that truth, don’t you?

God designed each and every one of us for a purpose. Even before he formed us in the wombs of our mothers, he had a plan and a purpose for our lives, I believe. He determined who we were to become and what his mission for us would be in life even before we were born. None of us are here by accident. We see this truth all throughout the Bible. For those of us chosen to be in Christ, by God’s divine grace offered to us via Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. God purposed for us that we would be holy, and that we would live godly lives pleasing to him. He has not changed that purpose, although many are teaching a different gospel from this. Yet, he remains the same, and his word remains the same.

The only true peace and joy we will ever know and experience in this life will come through submission to Jesus Christ and to his perfect, good and pleasing will for our lives. I know this from personal experience, as well as I believe it because God said it. I tried to live for God and to live for my flesh at the same time, and it didn’t work. I didn’t know who I was and I doubted God’s plan and purpose for my life, as well as I questioned his sovereignty over my life. I went through periods of depression, doubting, and disobeying, because I had not accepted God’s ultimate plan and purpose for my life, but I wanted to create my own. Yet, when I came to grips with this, through revival, and I yielded control of my life over to my Lord Jesus, then the peace came, and with that came a determination to persevere and to never retreat again. So, hang in there, don’t give up, and keep on keeping on!

Not Hearers Only

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 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.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Oh, how many times we fail in our communications with others because we don’t really listen to what others are saying, because we are thinking about what we want to say and we are just waiting for an opening to get in our two cents worth. Or, perhaps we don’t even wait at all, and so we interrupt the other person, thinking we know what he or she is saying, and thus we make assumptions about his or her intentions, and we even act upon our presumptions in ways which are harmful. How much damage is done in our relationships with others just because we don’t listen? - And, because we make assumptions? And, when I say listen, I don’t mean that we just physically hear them, but that we really pay attention and we give feedback and we care about what other people are thinking and feeling. When we are quick to speak, and slow to listen, and thus are quick to anger, too, we destroy relationships, and we can never truly grow in love, one for the other. Oh, how selfish!

For those of us who have been Christians a very long time, though not limited to us, and who have been privileged and blessed with great Biblical teaching and an abundance of Bibles and Bible helps over the years, there should be no excuse for not obeying the Word of God. Some will claim they didn’t know, yet many do know, but they ignore what they do know so that they can do what they want to do. So, it is not that most don’t know what to do, it is that we don’t do what we know. A bunch of head knowledge gets us nowhere.

It doesn’t matter how many Bible or seminary degrees you possess if you don’t do what the Word teaches you. We have to not just be hearers of the Word, but we have to do what it says. The Bible is real clear that if we do not obey the Word of God, as a matter of lifestyle, then we don’t truly know God (See: 1 John). What good is the Word to us if all it does is sit on our bookshelves or if all we do is gain a bunch of head knowledge? Head knowledge puffs up. We need to humble ourselves before God by obeying his Word, and not just hearing it. If we really love God, we will want to do what he says, because we want to please him.

As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You…