God blesses those who live by His Word.

God blesses those who live by his Word.

Read James 1:19-25

"But one who looks intently at the perfect law…will be blessed in what he does."

The most challenging thing for us to do is change. We are apprehensive of change, for change places us in the realm of the unknown. The fear of the unknown is always greater than our fear of the known; even when the present is distressing, we fear it may worsen. Consequently, we are reluctant to change. When confronted with the prospect of change, then we shy away, content to maintain the status quo.

In James 1:22-24, James challenges us to avoid merely maintain the status quo in our spiritual lives; to do so is to remain trapped in sin. Inherent within the concept of a disciple of Christ is the need for ongoing change. As people whose faith is riveted upon the Scriptures, James warns us that there is the inherent danger that we can become a hearer of the Word but not a doer. In this, he distinguishes between those who know the Bible and those who become transformed by the Bible, and the difference is critical. The person who merely knows the Bible is like a person who looks intently at himself in their mirror. He sees all his flaws. He sees the dirt upon his face, the hairs that are ruffled and out of place. But as soon as he turns away from the mirror, he quickly forgets. Because he does not see his face anymore, he no longer sees the grooming that needs to be done. Such is the person who comes to church on Sunday and listens to the message but goes home unchanged. Without the intentional response to the message and the careful self-examination with the view of changing, we quickly forget. We are like those that Christ warns in Mark 4:12 that "while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand. Otherwise, they might return and be forgiven." Paul also warns in 2 Timothy 3:7 of those who are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

So how do we avoid the snare of knowing the scriptures by not being transformed by them? James provides the answer in verse 25. It begins by "looking intently at the perfect law." The picture is of one who is bending over to examine something, giving his full attention to it. He not only closely investigates the scripture to determine the meaning but also to allow its message to alter the course of his life. He further "abides by it." In other words, he continues to remain in its teaching. He continues to contemplate its significance throughout the day. He doesn't just go to church on Sunday to hear a message and then go home and forget about its relevance; he becomes a doer, one who continually looks to scripture for guidance in every situation he encounters.

The result is that this individual is the one who is blessed in all he does. The search to obtain God's blessing in our life begins and ends with our obedience to his Word. When we fail to apply the Bible's teaching, when we abandon its instruction and guidance in search of what we perceive to be a better way, we no longer enjoy the blessing of his protective presence. If you want to enjoy God's blessing in your life, become committed to know and live by his Word even when it takes us to the one place we do not want to go, the place of change.

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