Stooping to Get the Best
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Chad Walsh, an American poet and theologian of the early 1900s, wrote with prophetic precision these words:
Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety with soft organ music trembling in the light of stained glass windows. Their religion is a pleasant thing, demanding little more than lip service to a few harmless platitudes; it is much safer from Satan’s point of view to vaccinate a person with a mild case of Christianity so as to protect him from the real disease.
Part of Satan’s strategy is not so much to try to get the believer to discard the Bible but, rather, to disregard it.
A visitor at church once emailed the complaint that I took the Bible way too seriously. At the heart of this criticism was the obvious message that she really had no desire to practice what she heard preached—she would rather change the message than herself.
God never intended the application of biblical truth to be optional. The practice of godliness isn’t a hobby that we do in our spare time. It’s a lifestyle.
The immature believer wants whatever he learns at church to stay at church. He wants whatever he reads in the Bible to stay tucked inside the Bible. Immaturity says, “I’ll do what I’m supposed to do but not one thing more.” Maturity, however, says, “What can I apply from Scripture and how can I live it more faithfully?”
James wants us to become servants of God who don’t just put in time but who give everything we have to please the Lord and reflect His character in our lives. The next verse adds that those who apply the Scripture find true blessing from God. F.B. Meyer, British pastor and commentator, wrote about this text in James:
I used to think God’s blessings were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on the shelves one beneath the other, and it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower. We have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.
This is at the core of spiritual growth . . . we prove our subservience to the Word. We stoop in servitude to the truth of Scripture. When and if we do, we find our faith grows stronger and our walk with Christ, sweeter.
Robert Chapman, a British pastor and contemporary of Meyer, was asked by a missionary what principle he might advise for the missionary to remain faithful in his work and intimate in his walk with Christ as he was heading for the mission field. Chapman told him in simple terms: “Keep low, look up, and press forward.”
In other words, stay humble; stay focused on Christ; press forward in serving Him. Don’t be content with just listening to Scripture—respond in humility to it. You are actually responding to its Author, Jesus Christ, with whom your walk will be enriched and encouraged.
So take it seriously—which means you won’t be satisfied with simply listening to it . . . you’ll grow in your passion to live it!
Prayer Point: Have you heard but haven’t been willing to heed it? Have you learned but haven’t begun to live it? Pray to your Heavenly Father that He will empower you to stoop to the Scriptures. Stoop in surrender to the Spirit as you live out the truth of Scripture today.
Extra Refreshment: >2 Kings 22–23 is a powerful Old Testament story about a young king who reads God’s Law for the first time. Upon reading it, he shows us what it means to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only.
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