James spoke about the importance of hearing the word of God and doing what the word says. Many people consider the scriptures to be outdated and feel that it may not be relevant for them. There are some Old Testament laws that were specifically written for the Jews and represents Jewish customs and traditions. For example, when the Gentiles were converted, Paul warned the other apostles not to burden them with laws and traditions. “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10)?
Paul was speaking about practices such as circumcision according to the law of Moses. Outside of these specific circumstances, the bible is written as guidance by which we should live. It is daunting to speak with Christians who have attended church all of their lives and know the bible, yet they seem to lack faith. This shows some unbelief in what the bible says. We are wasting our time if we are ardent church goers who can memorise many scriptures, yet our lives do not reflect the love of Jesus Christ.
James’s comparison to the scriptures is like that of a mirror which reflects the image of Christ. We are made in the image of God and our lives should reflect his example laid out in the word. Jesus shared the parable of the sower with his disciples to demonstrate how different people hear and receive the word. “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Jesus’s final analogy related to those who hear the word, understand it and produce good fruit from it.
The word should change our lives and increase our faith. The failure to listen and respond to the word can lead to being drawn away by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. “speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). We have to take heed to the word and not only listen but act on what the word says.
“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).