When I reflect on my relationship with my earthly father, I often hear his voice narrating my memories. Reflecting on my adolescence, I still recall his insightful counsel. Many times, I neglected his advice and unwisely chose my preferred plan of action – that usually came with life-learning consequences. With a stern Scottish accent and declarative demeanour, he would remark, “Ye wurnae listenin to whut I said....” Dad equated listening to a prescribed and obvious call to action.

Similarly, Scripture declares that our Heavenly Father also equates listening to a prescribed and obvious call to action – being doers of His Word. In James 1:22, James reiterates Jesus’ warning about hearing His words, but not acting on them. James reminds us that it is important for us to listen to God’s Word, but it is crucial for us to also “do what it says.”

If we follow our own preferred plan of action, then we “deceive ourselves.” Listening is only the catalyst for action — God’s call to action — for Christ followers to build a foundation of solid rock.

Can you imagine a community of Christ followers that embrace God’s call to action? James’ declaration reminds us that there is an obvious correlation between hearing and doing.

In our stubborn self-sufficiency, we easily defer to our personal preferred plan of action — with its unavoidable consequences. Often, listening to God is easy, but our greater challenge and call is to surrender a listening ear that embraces God’s non-negotiable call to live out His Word.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Word and for your grace when I merely listen. I pray for a listening ear. May your Spirit empower me to not only read and hear your Word, but to intentionally apply and reflect it in my everyday faith adventure. Amen.

Go Deeper – Make embracing God’s call to action one of your New Year’s resolutions – meditate on and memorize a verse each day, starting with today’s verse. Journal your thoughts and insights and ask Him to help you not only to hear His word, but to apply it by living it out in your everyday life.

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Tags: Listen James 1
Photo Credit: Johannes Plenio