Jesus was the Word made flesh that lived among us and gives us new life. As we read and meditate on the Word found in the Bible, as we hear and ponder the Word proclaimed in sermons, devotionals, and books, and as we take in the nudges and whispers of the Holy Spirit, God is planting the Word deep within us. He plants for one purpose: to bear fruit.
James advises us to be quick to listen. When our ears are seeking to hear the Word of life, we hear a lot better than when we are focusing on the things the world tells us. Listening takes practice and focus, so not only must we focus on the Word of God, but we also must practice on hearing the Word of God. Practice makes perfect! In our active practice of listening, we come to define and refine what we believe and how to best live out our faith.
James is clear that we cannot stop at the listening phase. We must go on and do what the Word says. We must take in the Word of God, allow it to sink deep roots that nourish our soul, and then go forth to live out its teachings. James mentions looking after the orphans and widows, but this is just one of many areas that we can share God’s love with others.
James 1 closes with this tidbit: “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Polluted is an excellent choice of words because that is exactly what happens. The more we focus on the world, the less we are able to focus on the word. Only one letter separates ‘word’ from ‘world’. It is easy to blur the lines and end up living in the world instead of in the Word. Each day may we look to God, spend time in the Word nourishing our souls, and go forth to bear fruit in His world.
Scripture reference: James 1: 17-27