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leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
I open this week’s episode with a very serious word of warning. Are you listening? As you read the Bible, you are going to learn God’s truth. HOWEVER, the truths you will discover from God’s Word will do you absolutely no good. That’s right, you heard me correctly. The truths and principles you will learn from Scripture are totally worthless IF they are not put into practice.
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #74, and in this week’s episode, we talk about James 1:22 which warns “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Are you ready to “Do the Word?”
As we open this episode of The Point of Purity Podcast, let me first thank you for listening each week. It is the prayer of not only myself, but all the supporters of The Pure Man Ministry that you are not only blessed, challenged, and encouraged by each week’s episode, but that you are applying to your heart and to your life the things you are learning here.
Let’s face it, these are tough and trying times we are living in. There’s craziness, confusion, and chaos all around us. It’s vital that we are building our lives upon the solid foundation of a right relationship with Jesus Christ. The Pure Man Ministry is all about equipping men and women on the point of purity – why should I be AND stay pure – and how to get to (and maintain) the point of purity in our everyday lives.
If you’ve listened to this podcast for any length of time, then you’ve heard me say that the problem we struggle with is not lust, porn, self-gratification, alcohol, drugs, anxiety, worry, anger, fear, pride, greed, gluttony, or control (or any of a myriad of other vices) – those are not the problem. They are the by-product of the real problem, which is a worship disorder. Who is sitting on the throne of my heart? You see, I do what I do because in my heart I want what I want. So, we cannot expect to effectively and permanently change our behavior until we first get King Me off the throne and change our heart. And only God can do that as His Holy Spirit implants and engrafts His Holy Word deep into the core of who you are – your soul.
Remember that we are to build upon a solid foundation. In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus said the wise man is the one who not only listens to God’s Word, but also does what it says. If you need a refresher on this point, I encourage you to go back to Episode #58 of this podcast and listen to that particular episode as we talked about building upon “The Right Foundation.”
Living a godly life that truly glorifies our Creator and Heavenly Father is realized only when you actually DO the truth – not just read it. You see, merely reading or listening to God’s Word is not enough, God requires more. The Apostle Paul instructed his protégé Timothy to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Now let’s park on this for a moment. Correctly handling God’s Word involves a whole lot more than just reading it or listening to it; it’s understanding what God is saying to you and choosing to walk in obedience to it (applying it to your attitude and actions. When you not only read and/or listen to Scripture AND you choose to live by what God says, then the knowledge of the truth will lead you to godliness. Only then will you be a wise builder. The key is diligence in DOING what the Scriptures teach.
Let me quote to you James 1:22-25. Listen carefully to what God is telling us through James. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
Let me repeat the warning James gives here in verse 22. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.” Does that describe you? Be honest now. Are you merely listening to the word? James is referring to letting God’s Word go in one ear and out the other; not allowing the truths of the Word to sink deep into your soul to the point where you are literally moved to DO something about what the Spirit has just revealed to you. “Merely listening” means you are hearing the words, you are even considering them for a moment, but then you promptly dismiss them as being unimportant or not really pertaining to you personally. In Matthew 7:26, Jesus calls that kind of person a “foolish man” (a moron – for more on this be sure to listen to Episode 58).
So James is telling us in no uncertain terms that if you merely listen to God’s Word you WILL be deceived. Now let me quickly point out to you here that James is not saying that God’s Word itself will deceive you. Let me explain – to “deceive” means to lie to; to cause to believe something that is untrue. Now just so we’re crystal clear on this – God’s Word is absolute truth! No lie, no deception has ever nor will ever come from God’s Truth (1 John 2:21). Rather, what James is telling us here, is that JUST HEARING the Word of God, simply considering what God is saying, but then dismissing it as unimportant or not pertinent – that is where the deception is.
Now I’m fairly confident that some of you listening to this instantly have an argument going on inside your head that may sound something like this: “Oh, I would never do that! I love going to church and hearing the pastor preach from the Word. I truly enjoy opening my devotional book every morning at breakfast and having a little quiet time with the Lord!”
Ok, I hear you. But let me ask you this: When you hear the passages of Scripture being read and expounded upon in the Sunday sermon, or you open your Bible to the verses associated with the devotional, are God’s words going in one ear and out the other? Sometimes, as the Scripture is read, your heart may ache with conviction. Other times it may pound with desire. Or you may find that you are indifferent to the Word. It’s vital that you realize God is speaking directly to you about YOUR LIFE and how YOU should be living for Him. You need to take His words and immediately seek to apply them to your everyday living. If you don’t, James is warning you that you are merely listening to the Word and you are being deceived.
Every time you sit in a Church service and listen to the sermon ..., every time you attend your adult Bible Fellowship or Sunday School class and hear a Bible lesson taught ..., every time you go to a weeknight Bible study or attend a small group Bible study ..., every time you have your devotions or turn on the radio to hear your favorite preacher speak ..., and every time you open your Bible to read it ... you are listening to the Word of God. Now my next point here is critical, so listen up. What you DO with what the Holy Spirit reveals to you is vital at this point. If you are not actively applying to your life what God is showing you about your life, you are a moron – you are a foolish builder who is reading the instructions but doesn’t bother to follow them. You are merely listening, and God says you are being deceived into believing all is okay. It’s not.
Let me share this final point with you before I wrap up today’s episode. We cannot merely listen to God’s Word and then go merrily on our way. We MUST do what God says. Note that James uses the words “do” and “doer” in verses 22 and 23. We are to be “doers” of the word. Those two words carry the idea that you are putting in the required effort. It’s active voice, meaning only you can actually DO the word. I can’t walk in obedience to God’s Word for you any more than you can do it for me. YOU must be a doer of the Word. So, I challenge you, the next time you open your Bible or hear it being spoken, pay close attention to what God is saying to you ... THEN take what it says, applying it to your life, and make it happen. Be that wise builder of Matthew 7!
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.