James 1:22-Listen and Obey

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James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

I’m probably a bit prejudiced, but as far as I am concerned, my brother and his wife are the best parents in the world (other than my mom and dad of course).  Their awesome parenting can be seen in many ways, but of course the clearest is the lives of my niece and nephew who (again in my opinion) are the greatest kids in the world…and yes having such an amazing uncle probably has something to do with it 🙂

In all seriousness I do admire the way they keep things under control with two young children in the house.  Interestingly enough they do use what’s today referred to as “corporal punishment”  but most of the time a simple phrase or name being called is enough to bring obedience.  One of their favorites to use when my niece or nephew act up is “listen and obey please.”

Now that small phrase seems unimportant at first but it includes three very important parts

  1. Listen:  Stop what you are doing and pay attention to me (usually the child’s name is used to get their attention as well
  2. And Obey:  Do what I am asking you to do right away (the idea of consequences coming if they disobey is implied)
  3. Please:  The request is being made in a polite, gracious spirit instead of anger

James in 1:22 is basically echoing the words my brother uses “listen (be not just a hearer) and obey (but a doer) please.”  And he has the same reason for using that phrase as my brother and his wife.

Listening is not enough

We all as children went through the experience of our mind beginning to wander during a lecture from our parents till their voice eventually became that of Charlie Brown’s teacher (wah wah wah) till our parents “are you listening to me!” snaps us back to reality (of course we say yes).  And then if your parents are smart (and they usually are) the next question is “what did I just say?”  which will result in lots of a um’s and uh’s from us.

With the addition of the word “obey” things are changed because the emphasis isn’t on transfer of information but DOING SOMETHING WITH THE INFORMATION!  For instance my brother or sister-in-law will say the child’s name with something they want them to do followed by “listen and obey.” (________________ you need to finish your sandwich, listen and obey please).

As amazing as it may seem the word of God can sometimes become like Charlie Browns teacher, and among the wah wah’s we cannot hear the Holy Spirit saying “listen and obey.”  Which is why we need to focus less on listening to the word of God (reading, hearing, gathering info) and more about what we DO with it.

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