In churches, you will find two types of people: Hearers and Doers. The apostle James, the brother of Jesus, explained that “hearers” only listen and know God’s Word, but never live it out, while “doers” listen, know, and obey. This is the distinction James communicates: It’s not “either-or”, but listen “and” obey.
Hearers, James warns, are living blind and deceived to the truth. That’s a harsh statement, but there are a lot of people – many church members – who if they were to die today, think they are going to heaven because they believe the right things about Jesus, but would wake up in hell separated from God. I would venture to say the percentages would absolutely shock us.
Why is that? James explains in chapter 1 verse 23: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; and once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he is.”
In other words, the Word of God is like a mirror that reveals our true reflection (character), revealing the areas in our lives that need improvement. This is conviction. However, rather than recognize and ask God to help us take steps to transform these areas brought to light by the mirror of God’s Word, the “hearers” simply walk away none the wiser.
Can you relate? Have you ever been reading Scripture and come across a verse or passage that convicts you of an area in your life or highlights an issue in a relationship that you know needs to be addressed? Sometimes, a worship experience can also bring to mind an area of life that you need to get right with God.
The Word of God, when studied intently, when meditated on and personalized, allows the perfect law of God to highlight areas in our lives that need to change. It convicts us. When we truly realize that we’ve fallen short, we won’t easily forget. God’s Word will be imprinted on our hearts in such a way to help us grow and transform into the person and character of Jesus Christ.
So, are you a “hearer” or “doer” when it comes to God’s Word?