“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 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. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
A dead faith is worse than no faith at all. I have this saying written on the top of James, and usually I gloss over it, not ever giving it a second thought, but today it has me thinking. I know so many Christians who say they believe in God, but don’t live by what His word teaches. They view God, not as a friend or a father, but as a judge, a creator, or a ruler somewhere far off in the sky. I understand why they feel this way. I grew up in the church and pretty much lived there three days a week, I attended a Christian school, and went to a Christian dance studio. My life has been surrounded and consumed with the Lord since I was a little girl. It was hard not to become numb to Him, because many times, I felt like God was being shoved down my throat. My life was built around mountain top experiences, and spiritual highs, lasting for a few weeks, and then seemingly disappearing out of thin air. There were two, week long camps every year, multiple worship nights, and study after study. The problem? I depended on those retreats, conferences, and nights of worship, to carry me throughout the whole year. I knew that God would break me during those times, and reveal himself to me in a powerful way, and I expected him to, but I believed that that was all I needed; just one “God experience” per year. But that one “experience” faded away in a matter of weeks, and it was not enough to get me through the year. My idea of a relationship with the Creator of the Universe was skewed. God is not something to be experienced, God is my friend, He is my father, my protector, my guide, my counselor in the morning and night, and the one being who knows me, even better than I know myself. He sent his son to die on the cross, so that I could have the opportunity and joy, of getting to know my Maker. Jesus died, because He longed to know me, love me, and be in communion with me, until we one day meet face to face. This is what so many people lack, and it is the same thing I lacked for years: communion. God is near, and James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” To live in communion with the Lord, is to be vulnerable with Him, and to pour your heart out before Him, allowing Him to see all of the hidden ways buried in the depths of our being. We have to let Him rip off our masks, so that we can finally see God for who God is, and us for who we are not. Only then does God’s word truly begin to cleanse us from the inside out, renewing our minds, and transforming our hearts. We begin to sincerely live out the word of God, being hearers and doers. The years of knowledge finally travels from your head, to your heart, to your hands, and your feet, and God becomes the heartbeat of everything you do. I don’t need mountaintop experiences to sustain me anymore, because God takes my breath away everyday. His grace is all around us, whether it be in the giggle of a child, the song of a bird, or the sounds of rain in the middle of the night. Be intentional. Look for glimpses of God all throughout the day, write them down, and remember. Remember why you believe in Him. Remember why you love Him, and you won’t be able to keep yourself from living and loving the way He so faithfully did on earth.
Application: This week, I will write down the glimpses of God that I see throughout the day, and mediate on the reason why I love the Lord so much.