It’d Be A Lot Cooler…
The other day we were washing our dog Brittany. Our shower is the best to wash her, so Brittany, Sarah, our son Foster…and the frog that Foster found ended up in the shower. Of course we told him, we are here to wash Brittany, not be a temporary holding cell for amphibians.
We went through the always ridiculous process of washing and drying a dog and all was back to normal.
The next morning I am in the shower getting ready and there again is that frog. I was showering way before our boys were up…so of course I got ready and forgot about the frog.
The next day, I was startled by my coldblooded friend again trying to warm up in my hot shower.
This happened for several days. I would get in the shower, be reminded of the frog, get out of the shower, forget about the frog, go on with my day until I was reminded again the next day.
I kind of cannot believe that I could forget and remember over and over again.
I also kind of cannot believe that frog lived for several days in our shower.
How is it that something that is so out of place, so not supposed to be there, becomes normal and forgotten?
It is an idea that is unattended to, that we do nothing about…and in fact, forget about it when we walk away.
I think this is actually way more normal than we would like to admit. We know something isn’t right, we are supposed to do something about it…and yet…we walk away and forget about it until it is brought back to mind at a later date and time.
How many of us have things like filing our taxes, eating healthy, exercising, writing thank you notes, or flossing our teeth that we just totally forget about and don’t do…we know these things are all important and need to be addressed, but we don’t make an adjustment until the IRS calls, we feel terrible, our doctor says we have to make a change, someone points out we never said thanks, or we have a dentist appointment on the calendar.
Again, how do we forget or ignore things that seem incredibly important?
James is the half brother of Jesus. Likely this guy learned a great deal growing up with Jesus as his brother. So much so, that in his book in the Bible, the book of James, it is crammed full of incredible wisdom. Right at the beginning of the book, in chapter 1, James speaks to this exact problem. He says this.
…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 who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
How can you forget what you look like?
How can you know one moment…and then forget when you walk away?
Well, it seems like you would forget because other things have taken priority, other ideas and thoughts fill your mind.
I have learned lines of dialogue for a play and then as soon as the show is over, other things fill my brain.
I have learned the names of people and as soon as I leave the situation, other things take priority.
I have crammed for tests or memorized quotes and as soon I have delivered that information, other bits of information seem to be more important.
But how do we forget our face or what we look like?
Because the voices in the world are louder, stronger, and more influential…or at least we allow them to be…so they fill the space and cause us to forget what is important.
So, how do we fixate on what is important and not forget?
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Wait a second? James says we will remember by focusing on the teachings of the law? Wait…I thought we were free from that?
Well, in the minds of the Hebrew people, including James, the first 5 books of the scriptures, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were considered “The Law”. These books tell the story of God, God’s people, the state of humanity and the need for liberation and salvation offered by our creator and God. It charts out the family of God and the laws they were to uphold to live differently than everyone else.
James says we need to look upon that. We are supposed to dwell upon that…and…not just listen, but do. If our faith is just something we think about, we will forget it. But if it is something we do, we live out, we don’t just incorporate into our daily life, but let it guide and transform our life, we will not forget. And then he says, and we’ll be blessed in doing that.
The words of the Old Testament not only point to the anointed one who is Jesus, but also are the perfect law, the law of liberty that guide us to living lives where we “do”. Jesus was and is the word made flesh, he was the embodiment of the law, he demonstrated what it meant to live out the law perfectly. This law pointed towards love. Loving God and loving others. Then Jesus is born, the one whose name means Yahweh saves, and he has come to offer salvation.
Salvation through Jesus doesn’t require anything but belief…while at the same time faithfulness, consistency, and journeying to be more like Christ appears to be something you do…not just something you believe.
You don’t have to “do” to experience everlasting life.
But to quote Matthew McConaughey,
“It’d be a lot cooler if you did.”
Following Jesus begins by receiving God’s grace through faith, responding to the life giving saving work of Jesus and requires no action or earning on our part. Though the rest of this journey is not just being bystanders who hear or listen, but being implementors who do and embody.
You know how I finally got that frog out? I simply asked Foster to get it out.
I could think about that frog all day long…but that wasn’t going to get it out of the shower. Most things in life just take the responsibility of us following through, of us being doers.
Let us not just sit on the sidelines waiting for this life to be over.
Let us not just be critical complaining about how things used to be.
Let us not be judgmental arguing how we are right and everyone else is wrong.
Let us do as Jesus did, let us step in and live like Him.
Let us love like Jesus.
Let us do like Jesus.
None of us know how much time we have left…and it seems as though we have a responsibility to live out the Kingdom of God until Jesus returns or calls us home.
So until that time, let us not just be hearers who forget, but doers who embody the ways of Jesus.
You certainly don’t have to…but it’d be a lot cooler if you did.
I hope you can join us this Sunday as we remember what it means to follow after Jesus. His way lead us to life.
We’ll share in communion at 9am. It’s a brief communion time, like 15 minutes or so, and then we have worship at 10am like normal.
It will likely be crowded this Sunday with the long holiday weekend. I would encourage you to plan ahead with parking and consider riding the shuttle.
A few other announcements.
- We offer a Young Adult/20’s and 30’s Bible Study on Thursday mornings at 8am that is currently meeting. Join us at The Chapel upstairs and we’re studying the book of Genesis together. If you are interested in our Young Adult group, please click here to get connected.
- Our Wednesday Morning Bible Studies are currently underway. Men meet at 8:30am and Women meet at 10am at The Chapel. We are journeying through the Gospel according to Matthew. If you aren’t getting our communication for our studies, join the men’s group here and the women’s group here.
- Mark your calendar, we will have another Night of Worship with Daniel Pratt and his friends from The Pour Worship on Sunday, October 1st. We’ve had a few of these in the past. They are amazing nights of praise and worship.
Let us know if you have any questions and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.