Published June 16, 2009
Are you a "doer of the word?"
Many Christians are "passive" Christians. They believe the Bible. They accept it as God's inerrant word. They go to church every Sunday. They tithe regularly. That's all great. But is that what Christianity is all about? Or is there something more?
James 1:22 tells us that we, as Christians, are to be "doers of the word." Our Christianity is not simply to be one of passive acceptance of the truths of God's Word, although such acceptance is, of course, vital. Our Christianity is to be an active one, putting into practice those truths God has given us in the Word. As the old saying reminds us, we are not to be so heavenly minded that we're no earthly good.
What got me thinking about all of this again was Mitchel Jon's song that we aired on last weekend's program, "Something Visible." As Mitchel said on the air, the song is "encouraging the body [Christians] to step up for the Lord. So many times when we're in church it's so easy to be strong for the Lord when we're together. But when we leave and we're all alone out in the world, do we really stand up for Him? I think the answer too many times is, we don't."
The song has these "action" examples:
"Gonna give a coat to the one who's cold.
Gonna be a witness brave and bold.
Gonna love my neighbor the way I should.
Gonna love the world like Jesus would.
"Gonna take my brother by the hand.
Gonna pick up my sister and help her stand.
Gonna plow the ground and sow that seed.
Never run away from those who need me to do something visible."
"I will do something visible for the invisible One."
This is being a "doer" of the word. We're here for a purpose and that is to represent Christ in the world. During his ministry on earth, Christ was certainly a doer. In fact, that's what he told John's disciples to report back to John to illustrate that he was, indeed, the Christ: "Go tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:4-5).
Christ was a man of action. And He instructed us, likewise, to be doers: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That's being an "active" Christian, not just a "passive" one. And "preaching" means more than just standing up in the pulpit. You "preach" every time you are a "doer" of the word to or for someone else.
In fact, that's the reasoning given in the song:
"For the world needs to see we who believe
Are willing and serving our Lord.
God Almighty, loving through me;
That's what a Christian is for."
And there's this not-so-subtle reminder that you do, in fact, represent Christ to the world:
"Somebody's watching, somebody's looking at you.
Little eyes are watching everything we do.
The world is watching you and me.
You've gotta think about what they see."
This is an everyday thing. Yes, we are to live "holy" lives (1 Peter 1:15-16). But we are to "put feet" to our faith. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Well done is better than well said." The Greek verb tense in James 1:22 indicates that we are to be doing these things continuously. Not just Sundays. Not just occasionally. Continuously.
One of my favorite writers ("Anonymous") put it this way:
The Gospel is written a chapter a day
By deeds that you do and words that you say.
Men read what you say whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the Gospel according to you?
What "something visible" can you do today "for the invisible One?"
*"Something Visible," Mitchel Jon Kenitzer & Phil Cross, Chris White Music/Asheville Music Publishing/Cameron Hill Music/Bridge Building Music BMI. Lyrics used by permission.
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