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"Lord, I don't ask that I should win, but please, please don't let me finish behind Akabusi."

Innocent Egbunike's prayer at the 1988 Olympics

Hearing and doing

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves James 1:22

Last week we noted the ways in which James suggested that we deceive ourselves. Here is another - our attitude to God's word. There are 5 references to God's word in the latter part of James chapter 1:

- the word of truth (v18);

- the word planted in you (v21);

- the word (v22, 23);

- the perfect law (v25).

James's main point is that hearing the Word of God does you no good unless you put it into practice. In verses 23 and 24 he uses humour to make his point "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like". Imagine a coach making the team watch a video of the last game and then saying, "there is nothing we need to learn from that, let's just go out and make the same mistakes again this week!"

We are to listen to God's word and not forget what it says but to put it into practice is our life. Knowledge of God is never theoretical. We learn in order to change the way we live. There are so people who can juggle a football for hours but who have never played at a high level. Juggling a football is a great skill but it is only of value to the team when the artist's ability to do tricks with the ball works to the team's advantage. Otherwise kicking a ball 2,000 times without it touching the ground is like looking in a mirror and forgetting what you look like!

As we read the Bible let us seek to apply it to every part of our lives and be transformed by it.

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