Devotional Thoughts for Today
–Wishing a Blessed Thanksgiving to All Our Readers–
“Greater Are His Ways”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Today’s passage is one that I used to hear every youth pastor speak on, yet I always had difficulty understanding it as a young believer. I didn’t necessarily have trouble understanding the meaning of the passage, but I couldn’t seem to understand the analogy associated with the verse. I mean how ridiculous is it for any person to forget what they look like after staring at the mirror. Isn’t the very point of staring at a mirror to see what you look like? It would take me a long time to realize that the absurdity of the analogy was precisely why it was used in this context. In the same way it is ridiculous for any person to forget what they look like after staring at an object for the sole purpose of looking at themselves, it is foolish for a person to stare at a Bible and walk away with the heart of disobedience. Why read the Word then?
Today’s passage highlights the truth that we are called to read the Word with the heart to obey. Anything other than a desire towards obedience to the Word is deception in James’s eyes, and as absurd as forgetting how you look like while staring at a mirror. But more than that, we read that obedience to the will of God is what leads to true blessings. So often we believe our ways are better than God’s way because we want to see our own type of fruit, but James shows us that true blessing comes in walking in alignment with the Father.
Stickered on the front page of my Bible is a post-it that says, “If we read with the will to obey, He by His Spirit will show us His way.” Let us be people who open our Bibles every day, not just for the sake of reading the Word, but with the will to obey. When we come with this heart of obedience it is God’s promise that He will show us a way to submit to His will. Take some time now to reflect on any areas of your life that you are struggling to obey God. Be encouraged by today’s passage that it is in the perfect law that there is freedom, and thus, you can release your plans for His as God’s desire is to bring blessings upon your life.
Prayer: God I thank you for Your saving grace that has made me a new creation. Help me to read the Word every day with the heart of obedience. I pray that You would make a way in times when my heart desires to go astray. In Jesus name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 2
Lunch Break Study:
Read Psalm 19:7-11: The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Questions to Consider
- What does this passage say about the commandment of the Lord (i.e., descriptors)
- What does this passage list as the benefits of keeping God’s commandments?
- Take some time to reflect on ways you can obey the Lord today. It can be as simple as taking the time to pray for your neighbors or maybe it’s something God has been asking you to do for a while, but you have been hesitant to obey. May you find that the Word is sweater than honey as you obey His call.
- The law is perfect, right, pure, clean, true, righteous, precious, and sweet.
- The law will revive one’s soul, rejoice one’s heart, and enlighten one’s eyes.
- Personal response.
Today we discussed our call to not only read the Word but to obey His Word. So how did you do? Were you able to read the Word with the will to obey? If you are struggling with obedience in a particular area can I encourage you to share with a trusted friend. Some of the greatest breakthroughs come in vulnerability and prayer, and it may just be the encouragement you need. Tomorrow is a new day, may your prayer be that you would begin each day with a heart of obedience to the King!