Are You Deceived? James 1:22-25
Don't Be Deceived
Book of James
Welcome to Life Lessons from the Book of James. Today's topic, Are you deceived, will require you to sit at Jesus feet and allow Him to search your heart.
Each lesson has been organized by grouping sequential verses together and giving them a title.
For today's topic, found in James 1:22-25, we will consider:
- How do we Deceive Ourselves?
- The Deceived One Ignores Truth
- The Blessed One is not Deceived
If you would like a simple Bible study pattern to follow I have designed 7 simple steps in Life Lessons from the Book of James.. These seven steps are utilized in this study with the purpose of helping you to look deeply into God's word.
This approach to studying the scripture is up close and personal. As you study picture it as if you are holding a magnifier to inspect very closely and intently just a few verses at a time.
Before you study always pray for the Holy Spirit to interpret and to communicate the heart of God to you. His word is a lamp to your feet.
Do Not Be Deceived
Verses on Deception
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 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. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 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.
Be a Doer
How Do We Deceive Ourselves?
James 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Simply put, we deceive ourselves when we hear the word of God but do nothing about what we heard.
Doer is an action word. In this verse we are commanded to "be doers." Literally in the present imperative sense the verb indicates "be doing continually, keep on striving to be doers of the Word."
Why is the word doer used instead of do? The word "doers" embraces more than the word do. The word "doer" carries with it a characterization of a whole personality. It's one thing to fight in a war, it carries more weight to be soldier. It's one thing to build a house, it's again carries a significant role to be a builder. We are to be characteristically doers of the Word by life habit.
Consider the following scenario. Imagine yourself being surprised and fearful when God appears right in front of you. He tells you he is revealing Himself to you because he wants to talk to you personally. He says to you, "Sit down Sam," As you are falling into your chair you feel a knot forming in your belly, at the same moment you experience a stark awakening in your Spirit - The reality of God has never hit you like this - never! Imagine God speaking words like this to him. "Sam, I have told you in my word to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. Sam, you heard my instructions last week in Church and you've read it many times in my word, yet you continue to be harsh with your wife and demanding with your children. You have never forgiven your parents. Sam, you hear it but you don't let it change your life. You have been substituting hearing for doing. You deceive Yourself!"
Now do you realize God IS everywhere and He is speaking to you through His word? It is not because it is easy, convenient or a desire to be obedient to God's word. It is a knowing that God's Word comes directly from Him. It is not optional to choose to disregard anything He teaches in His word. When one believes, trusts and loves God He eagerly surrenders His will and chooses to do the 'hard thing.' If Sam continues to live in the flesh, to hold rage and anger and bitterness, it will destroy his testimony and leave wounds on all the significant people in his life.
The Deceived One Ignores Truth
James 1:23-24 "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. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."
What does being a hearer of the word mean? In the analogy the 'hearer' is the guy who comes to the mirror (the Word of God.) The mirror shows him his blemishes, his ugliness and all that is wrong. He see's it and recognises it - it demands that he do something about it but he gets distracted. He is gone, he's back into the world, he forgets what he saw and it never gets fixed or adjusted. That's the hearer only.
The mirror analogy is brilliant as it pictures this idea of looking but doing nothing about what is seen. Sam has looked in the mirror (God's word) intently, but he walks away quickly and pushes the image out of his head. He forgets all about the truth he has seen. The point is this, if you don't do something on the spot when you see what needs to be done, you'll get busy in life and you'll forget that anything needs to be done at all. Perhaps it is Sam's blindness of looking at the Word as a mere book. He does not truly believe the word of God is God's word - therefore it has no power in his life.
Let's get up close and personal? When you go to Church or do your devotions what is your attitude? Your attitude really is the key to everything. Do you prepare your heart as you call out to God in words like these, "Help me to see my heart (natural face) when I look into the mirror of your word. I want to see all the blemishes and the blotches and all the places that need repair. Dear Lord God, I come with a heart that says show me where the problem is so I can see it changed," As you sit in Church, what's your attitude? Do you humble yourself and stoop over and look closely into the Word of God? Are you praying that God's Holy Spirit would use the Word of God as a mirror to show you where you have failed so that you can, on the spot while you're still looking, cry out to God and covenant in your own heart to make it right? You must deal with it on the spot because when you get away from it, what's going to happen? You become captive to all the distractions of life. The mirror is not right in front of you. You forget what you look like and you go on in the same way.
Sam goes to Church, he reads his Bible occasionally and hangs out with Christian people. Sam is deceived because of the outward effort he is making to be 'religious.'
The Blessed One is not Deceived
James 1:25 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.
I love this phrase, the perfect law of liberty. What's that? What is the only perfect law ever given? It is the Word of God. What is the source of all of our liberty? The Word of God that frees us from every bondage.
If I want God’s blessing, I must obey His word. To ask God to bless my life while I disobey His word is crazy. James refers to all of Scripture when he says that it is the doer of the word that will be blessed in what he does.
It is important to realize that James is talking to church-going folks. He is not writing to atheists but to those who regularly hear the word of God. These are folks who probably took some comfort in the fact that they often heard the word. In their own eyes it put them a notch above those pagans who never attend church! Being Jewish Christians some probably took pride in their observance of certain rituals and commands. They had been baptized. They took communion. They attended church. They did not steal or murder or commit adultery. But James cuts through the veneer to the heart!
James knew that his fellow Jews were prone to keep the Law outwardly while their hearts were far from God. Like the rich young ruler, they belioeved that they kept all of the commandments from their youth, but the rich young ruler was actually violating the great commandment, because he loved his money more than he loved God. Jesus rebuked the Jews (Matt. 15:8, citing Isaiah 29:13), “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.”
When James calls it “the law of liberty, he is referring to “the new covenant promise of the law written on the heart … accompanied by a work of the Spirit enabling obedience to that law for the first time.
We must apply the word on the heart or thought level if we want to overcome sin because all sin stems from the heart (Mark 7:21-23).
“Do you want God’s blessing in your life?” If you said yes, then James’ answer is clear: Don’t be a forgetful hearer of the word. Become an effectual doer and you will be blessed by God. ref: www.precept.org
The Bottom Line
In wrapping up the essence of our lesson today let us consider the bottom line in the spiritual life.
A relationship with God is not some momentary commitment, but it is proven by long-term obedience. There needs to be a covenant point where I covenant to be obedient to the Word of God.
If you don't sense that in your heart that you have been convicted of your sin; if the deepest and truest longing of your heart is not to covenant to obey the living God, then the thing you think is saving faith is something less and you are deceived.
You say, "Do true believers put the Word into practice?" Yes. Do true believers always put the Word into practice?" No because sin and our enemy is ever crouching at the door, but even when the mark is missed, it is the desire of the true believer's heart to repent and be a doer.
Any response to the Word of truth other than obedience is merely a deception. Sentimental admiration of the preacher, enjoyment of the mental stimulation, good feelings about the emotional exhilaration of discovering truth are all merely deceptions...if nothing happens in your life you are deceived.
Satan would love to make you content with being religious and enjoying the rituals. Do not be deceived my brothers and sisters. Jesus wants You - All of You!
He Will Not Let Go
Watch Your Tongue - James 1:26
In our next study on the book of James chapter one we will be exposing the power of the wily little tongue.
Your tongue holds more power than you may have ever considered before. It holds the power to destroy or build up. Join me in a journey through the book of James as we look carefully at just one verse, James 1:26.