Bob Greene served in pastoral ministry in California and Arizona for 14 years, and completed a BA in Christian studies and an MA in theological studies, before joining the faculty at Grand Canyon University. Bob loves preaching and teaching, worship, surfing and hanging out with his three children: Justice, Micah and Dixie (the family Jack Russell Terrier).
It’s hard to win anything without the right instruction.
Today’s world is full of pressure. School, family, relationships, friends and church create tension and pressure for every one of us. This pressure can often feel like we are in a battle, in a fight with an opponent we may feel helpless against, an adversary we might not even be able to see.
This enemy is Satan, and he doesn’t fight fair. He uses different tactics, strategies and advantages to beat us down and rob us of our happiness, joy and trust in God. Satan brings those things that are tempting into our lives because he doesn’t fight fairly. He wants to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to live in lies.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)
The Bible explains that we are all under fierce attack from an enemy we can’t physically see, an opponent we can’t possibly defeat on our own. It’s a battle that we all face, whether we believe the Bible or not.
Since this battle affects us all, the question I want to answer is: How can we prepare to face such an enemy?
- Do What God Says (James 1:22)
It is not enough just to read the Scriptures, but we must also respond to them in active obedience. God commands us to do it – He doesn’t ask us to or say please. It is our responsibility to follow what His
Word says. We must become and continue to be doers. This is a process that only the Holy Spirit can do in us when we submit our lives completely to Him. No other person on Earth can do it for us – not our parents, professors, pastors or friends.
We must choose to do what God says.
- Apply What God Says (James 1:23–24)
James shows us a picture of a man in his illustration. A woman would probably give more attention than a glance. I see what you ladies go through to get ready to go out of the house – you know how you look!
Guys, if it smells good and there are no stains, we put it on. Some gel in the hair and deodorant sometimes, and we’re ready to go right?
What James says happens is this man goes out and forgets what he looks like. He knows what to do because he’s seen it, but he goes off and disregards it because he doesn’t accept the Word of God humbly and with meekness.
Just like his appearance, the Bible to him is not important enough to accommodate change in his life. The Bible calls this man foolish.
- Respond to What God Says (James 1:25)
To look into the mirror of the Word of God involves a response. The intent and sustained look involves a ready response and is the key to our spiritual maturity. What might you have to give up to follow Jesus?
The one who does what God says will be blessed, and everything that we give up to follow Jesus, as we do what the Bible says, will be nothing compared to the riches that God will bestow on those who commit their lives to Him.
Jesus is the only way we can have victory, joy, peace and hope in this life and the life to come. He offers the only way to be forgiven of everything (past, present and future).
Jesus makes the way for us to be reconciled back to God. By His life, death, burial and resurrection, Jesus covers all of our sins, failures and mistakes. The Bible is clear that when God gives us the ability to understand these truths about the person and work of Jesus, He calls us to be His people. All we have to do is respond to His invitation.
We do this by:
- Confessing our sins – Admitting our guilt and inadequacy. (1 John 1:9)
- Repenting – Turning away from sin and turning to God. (Acts 3:19)
- Believing – Setting our faith on Jesus. (Romans 10:8-10)
- Receiving – Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. (John 1:12)
Looking for more great content? Read more Faith and Living posts from Bob Greene.