Context schmontext

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:23-25

Kudos to my younger brother (Darius) who blogged about verse, giving me fresh revelation.

Up until now, I have read verse 23 without looking beyond. Just reading verse 23-24, Paul’s exhortation to be doers sound almost like a command without a clue. It reads like, “If you listen and don’t do, you’re an idiot.”

But the true gems of this passage is found in the verses following.

“Whoever looks intently… not forgetting what they have heard… continues in it”
As Darius pointed out, the key is to be a hearer. A very persistent hearer. In a similar principle to Luke 6:45 (and Proverbs 4:23), our doing is an overflow of what we put in. The more we put in and keep putting in, more is stored inside and more will overflow! Our actions are no more than the spillover!

“into the perfect law that gives freedom”
The perfect law that gives freedom is none other than the law of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1). As my father says, “Practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice make perfect”, by this he means that practicing the right thing is as important as practicing itself. In context, we need to be looking intently at the right thing – the freedom in Christ. We do what we hear not out of fear or obligation but out of freedom – because we can.

“they will be blessed in what they do”
Another way of saying it in the KJV is “shall be blessed in his deed”. Our doing is blessed when (because) it stems from an outflow of persistently soaking in his freedom.

It’s hard to do, but it certainly is not hard to persistently enjoy the freedom that is in Christ!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply