Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Once upon a time, according to an old legend, Satan called a special meeting with several of his demonic agents to decide on the best way to turn people away from God. During the meeting several suggestions were made. One devil suggested all-out persecution, while another wanted to try to turn as many believers as possible into atheists.
Several others spoke up, until an older agent rose to say that the best way to turn people away from God is to try to convince them that their faith does not have to make a difference in their everyday lives. Let them sit in church on Sunday, sing their songs, confess their creeds, repeat their prayers, and listen to their sermons. But convince them that their faith does not have to show in the way they live, and you’ll turn them into lukewarm Christians. And once they have become lukewarm, they will be of no use to God.
Though this story is fictional, we know that throughout history Satan and his agents have spread the lie that we can have our faith without putting it into practice.
To expose that lie, James wrote his letter.
It’s not enough to be hearers; hearers have to become doers. Says James, “Do not merely listen to the word… Do what it says.” We have to ask ourselves, “Does my faith really make a difference?”
Father in heaven, give us the grace during this month to hear what you are saying to us, and make us doers of your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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