Scripture reading for November 18th: James 1:19-2:12
The human mind, born the first time under the deception of sin, is prone to self-deception. We don’t always easily recognize the lies we are under or have chosen to believe. We tend to see the faults and sins of others, but are blind to our own. James understands human nature and through the Holy Spirit has addressed the subject of self-deception.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:19-22)
First, James addresses his friends with affection. God is not mean or hateful when He corrects us. Hearing truth requires a heart that is open to understand. James realizes that too often we are not in a state of readiness to hear. When we are always talking or have anger in our hearts, we cannot concentrate on the word of God. In order to receive the word, we must humbly accept it. This requires repentance–a turning from evil, anger, and moral corruption.
God’s word is able to save us. What does that mean? First, we are born again by receiving the truth about Jesus Christ as the Son of God and accepting His sacrifice for our sins. We must be willing to hear the truth about our own life of sin and the truth about who Jesus is and what He did. We must also be humble enough to confess our sins and turn from them to Christ for cleansing and new birth. This means we must not only hear the truth but do what the truth requires.
If we only hear and do not apply the truth, we are deceived. We really deceive ourselves, because only knowing about truth cannot save us! “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” God wants to bless His people! Be a doer and avoid self-deception.