September 23, 2019


Devotion for the week...

I love getting out for a walk with the kids I babysit as it helps to break up the day. I find they tend to argue and fight over toys less when we get out of the house and that just makes for a better day for everyone. We don't go out in the rain, though, or when it's really windy, and in the winter I have to keep an eye on the temperature and especially the windchill to decide if it's a good day to go out or not. Because of that, checking the forecast is one of the first things I do in the morning. Then, as we're getting closer to the time we'd leave for our walk, I often check it again to be sure I'm not remembering something incorrectly. Then, because I can't remember what it said for tomorrow, I'll usually check the forecast again later in the day, looking at the rest of the week. But I'll still check it first thing in the morning when I wake up.

You would think that checking the day's forecast once would be enough, but the funny thing is that I tend to forget what it said, sometimes almost as soon as I close the app on my phone. Maybe it's because I've read it so many times that the forecasts all run together and don't really stand out in my mind. Maybe it's because I'm only half paying attention as I read it to begin with.

As I was picking up my phone to check the forecast for the nth time on a particular day, I was amused by the fact that I couldn't remember what I had read already a few times that day and it made me think of a section of the book of James. James wrote, "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it" (James 1:22-25).

I feel like me reading the forecast is a lot like people who listen to God's word and essentially let it go in one ear and out the other. They hear the words, but they don't take it in and absorb it, so they immediately forget what they heard. They can't act on what they've learned from the word because they can't be sure of what they learned to begin with. At best they have a vague recollection that they heard *something* about a particular subject, but they don't really know what it was.

So, how do we ensure we aren't doing that? James says,  "if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free," which sounds to me like we need to be paying attention to what we hear, if others are preaching, or what we read, if we're reading the Bible ourselves. We can't expect to absorb what we hear/read if our minds are distracted by what we want to have for lunch, the chores that need to be done later or the quilts we're planning to make (I've been there, lol). We can train ourselves to focus so that we can really take in what we're learning so that we can remember it later. No pretending to be listening or just skimming the words as we read so we can check off 'Bible reading' from our to-do list. True focused attention will allow the words to sink in and affect the way we live.

James continues with, "and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." And if you do what it says. That's the tough one, isn't it? We don't always want to stop gossiping or to forgive someone or to tame our tongues. We don't want to pray for those who persecute us or for those in authority over us. We struggle with serving God rather than serving money and, to be honest, we often struggle with serving in general. Often it's easier to just turn away from those verses and allow them to flow right out of our minds.
God will bless us for our obedience to His word |
If, instead, we choose to pay careful attention to His word and then do what it says, our lives will change to look more and more like Jesus' life looked. We will react to people and to situations as God would have us react because we will have absorbed the lessons He wants us to learn from His word.

Furthermore, James tells us that "God will bless [us] for doing it." That's a forecast I won't need to check over and over again!

1 comment:

  1. I do the same thing with the weather app! DUH...
    My problem is often reading my Bible when I'm too tired to let it sink in. I find that reading the passage through a few times helps it sink in - if I'm not too tired...


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