“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22, AV)
Years ago, I worked in retail sales in a seasonal department that was responsible for toys and outdoor items. One of my jobs was to assemble display items. So, one day the boss assigned me and another employee to assemble a children’s bicycle for display. Well, we opened the box and began to read the instructions. After a minute of looking at the instructions, we threw them away and then began the assembly. We figured, “How hard can it be?” We both had bicycles, “We don’t need instructions.” When we finished, we had two little plastic pieces left over. We kind of scratched our heads and decided that we really didn’t need them. However, when we went to test the bike, it would not work. The pedals would move but it was so difficult, that no normal child would ever be able to ride the bike.
Well, we realized that we left out two important pieces. They were part of the bearing system for the rear wheel. We couldn’t get them in without totally disassembling the bike and anyway, we already threw them out. So, we thought, we’ll just put the bike up on the display shelf. No one is going to purchase the display anyway. Wrong! A day or two later two elderly women came in to purchase a bicycle as a gift for their granddaughter and they wanted the one already put together. I tried to explain to her that that bike would not work and that we had some in boxes that she could take. They just needed assembly.
She went to the store manager and complained about me not wanting to sell her the bike that was already assembled. The store manager came to me and said give her the bike. I tried to explain the situation to the store manager, but he looked me straight in the eyes and said “SELL HER THE BIKE!” “Yes sir. Whatever you want.” The crisis was averted, at least for the moment. I am positive that they returned the bike just a few days later, upset with the store. The moral of the story is that one should read and follow the instructions.
This is the point that James is making regarding the word of God. If you do not heed to the instructions of God’s word, you are likely to look pretty foolish. People who do not heed to the word, are deluded. This is an issue of pride and in the end, they will look quite foolish in their attempt to live the Christian life. In their prideful deluded state, they make a mess of things because they do not obey the word of God. God speaks to us through his word and it behooves us to listen and do what He is telling us.
The unfortunate part today is that many do not even listen. That is, they do not spend time in God’s word and therefore, they do not hear from God. They become wise in their own eyes and thus, they do not demonstrate a blessed walk of faith to those who are looking on.
Save yourselves the embarrassing moments. Read the word faithfully and do what it says. If God is speaking about a sin to avoid, try very hard to avoid it. If there is a person demonstrating a good example of conduct in the Bible seek God’s grace to emulate it. If there is a direct command presented, obey it. Read the word, think about what it says and do what it says. Read, think and do. It is that simple.