Dillon Davis, Contributing Writer
This is a devotional my friend Dillon wrote for his New Testament class with Dr. Melton at North Greenville
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 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; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in[d]what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
What is the Text Saying
My turn had come. I nervously gathered my papers in my blue folder as I climbed the stairs to the stage.
I placed my Bible and folder on the pulpit and prayed a quick prayer. I shot a quick glance at the elder pastors sitting in the front row in the ornate sanctuary. They nodded and I began my sermon.
I introduced myself and gave a captivating introduction that lead right into the main verse. It was James 1:27. The topic of sermon was religion versus relationship.
Religion was defined as an empty set of beliefs that had no transformative effect in the life of a religious person. James emphasized this in verses 22-25 using a mirror as an analogy.
If you looked in a mirror, saw that you dirt on your face, and chose not to remove it, why did you look in the mirror in the first place? The purpose of a mirror is to show that you have imperfections and that you need to correct them.
There is a difference between hearing the Word and doing the Word.
James gives a practical example of this concept in verses 26-27. He points out religious people that do not control what they say. Scriptures show that we must speak kind words to our neighbor.
Religious people cannot say they are religious and ignore commands in Scripture. True religion is living a holy life for God and putting our faith into action by caring for the needs around us.
Truth is not meant for mere knowledge alone. Truth is meant to transform lives. It is never enough to say that you believe in the Bible. You must prove your beliefs by living out truth in your own life. Otherwise, you are lying to yourself.