“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” ~James 1:21-25
Many people believe themselves to be basically good people, but what exactly are they basing that decision on? Usually, something rather relative to themselves and/or comparative to another person. Our problem is that we must be comparing ourselves to the mandates of God’s word and the laws carried forward and taught by Jesus the Christ, not another person who consistently fails to uphold the word of God! But we each have this comparing ourselves to others problem, because we either see ourselves as being better than or worse than another person that we see. We also permit ourselves to manipulated by the media, in all varieties; whether we are watching some shows (reality television) or something along the lines of a fantasy.
When we see ourselves as being good we generally compare ourselves to Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, or Mao Tse Tung – between the four of them they have killed as many (estimated) as 200 million people. So, yeah…we are all better than they are…how many people have you killed? The fact of the matter is that God does not grade on a curve. Also, NOWHERE in the Bible does it indicate that ONLY Hitlers, Mussolinis, Stalins, or Mao Tse Tungs are the only ones that go to Hell everlasting Damnation! Does it?? Did I miss that part?? I think not…
While it does take great pains on our part to memorize biblical passages and scriptures, it also takes much willpower on our part to pray daily, to fast, to go out of our way to aid others in need…YEAH, I can also do much better in those areas of my life, too. Do you care for those in prison? Those who are widowed? Those who are orphaned? James talks about this being the basis of religion. In so far as, he meant the actions we take should reflect our words of faith. We as Christians need to reflect the actions of Christ in all we do and say in our daily lives. We are all falling down in this respect of our religious lives. It is only through God’s word by reading and memorizing that we can have God at the forefront of our minds. It is only by striving to do better, that we can actually get better at what we do!
By attempting to do something slightly different than what you did yesterday, in order to improve you can do so one step at a time. Tiny steps of improvement turn into great strides at a later date. Much like compound interest, making little improvements daily or weekly can reap great rewards later on down the road!
Begin praying for but only five minutes and later on it will grow because your relationship with God grows. Talk to Him throughout your day at what appear to be mindless moments, and you will become a ceaselessly prayerful person. No matter what you do to get better as a Christian, as a follower of Christ, or as an emulator of Jesus – take your time using your bible as the guide, gaining a contextual understanding of the bible and passing it on to others. Become part of a group of like minded believers that studies and teaches the bible. There are many out there, if not create one!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD