Only humans need to be told to be doers and not just hearers of the Word. Dogs have an even better ability to hear than we do, and they act on what they hear. When an owner calls a dog, its ears move toward the sound and it responds right away.
Bats also have a good sense of hearing. This makes up for their poor eyesight. As the bats are flying in dark caves searching for food, they make loud, short sounds, and are able to tell by the echoes what an object is, how far it is from them, its size, and its texture. They may even be able to use this information to determine their flight speed. If they didn’t act on their hearing, they wouldn’t survive too long.
But the Apostle James wasn’t writing to the dogs and bats when he wrote James 1:22. He was writing to believers like you and me. He knew we have a tendency to hear the preaching of God’s Word in church, say “Amen” to the pastor, listen to spiritual advice from godly friends and church leaders, nod our heads in agreement — and go back home without it making any difference in our lives. James wanted us to understand that if we want a blessing from the hearing of God’s Word, then we have to apply ourselves to the doing as well.
To hear the Word of God and refuse to live according to its teachings is to look in a mirror, let it show you what you need to fix about your appearance, and then walk away without making any adjustments. The way you look when you leave the mirror is what your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members will see today. Will they like what they see? If not, then you’d better make sure to fix any flaws the mirror has brought to light.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder