Oh how these two verses pricked my heart this morning. Often I say “amen” to the preaching of the scriptures, or blogs I’ve read, and posts on my favorite boards. But can I truly say that I “practice” the content of the messages? Self examination must be done daily and we must ask, “Am I a doer or am I deceiving myelf”?
According to Romans 2:13, if we are hearers we are not justified! Praise God for Romans 5:9 otherwise we would be in BIG trouble. Praise God that because we are born again, Jesus’ righteousness is all the Father sees and we are justified because of His shed blood! We are not condemned! And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Romans 5:16)
Are we doers of the word of God? We can try to fool those who “watch” us but can we fool our own selves? More importantly, do we honestly believe we can fool God? But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22) James says that we deceive our OWN selves! Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary has an excellent definition for the word deceive: “To mislead the mind; to cause to err; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose on; to delude” We’ve all heard the old saying that we see life “through rose-colored glasses.” This expression goes back to at least 1861. It means that one has the attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light. Good night! What an eye opener that was! Do we see our own selves through these same rose-colored glasses? Do we see our sin for what it really is?
The bottom line is this … if we hear a message that points out sin in our lives and we do not heed that message, we are guilty of being a hearer of the word only. We are misleading ourselves – we actually convince our minds to believe that which is false or disbelieve that which is true! What is scarey here is that if we become hearers only, what false doctrine will we fall for? If we are hearers only, what effectiveness does our testimony have on the unsaved? Does our testimony give them vinegar rather than the water of life? When I think of what vinegar is, I shudder to think that my testimony would have this affect on others. Again, Noah Webster’s definition of vinegar is: “Vegetable acid; an acid liquor obtained from wine, cider, beer or other liquors, by the second or acetous fermentation. Vinegar may differ indefinitely in the degree of its acidity. When highly concentrated, it is called radical vinegar.” The soldiers tried to give Jesus vinegar as He hung on the cross and was thirsty. Matthew 27:34 says that once Jesus tasted it, he would not drink it!
Jesus provided “living water” to the thirsty soul. He did not give them vinegar. What are we producing? If we are hearers of the word only, we will be giving the world vinegar – why would they want that? If we are doers of the word, however, we are giving the world what their soul is thirsting for – living water!
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? (John 4:11)
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 )