The subject of a changed life has been on my mind for the past several months. It was no coincidence that I heard a sermon yesterday by Andy Stanley on James 1:22-25 which says, “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 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. 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. “
I’ve been reading through Paul’s letters in the New Testament, and realizing what a radical change occurred in his life. Over the past year or more, I’ve read and discussed such books as Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper, The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, and most recently Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I’ve had conversations with friends who have read Radical by David Platt, or have gone to various churches to listen to him speak. There seems to be a new wave of authors/speakers that are making effective pleas for the church to wake up. There is a young generation of people that are flocking to the Passion Conference each year, and leaving with a renewed commitment to loving and following Christ.
The question on my heart and on my mind is “are we changing the way we live?” We read, and we listen, and we agree with many of the things that we read and hear. But how often do we stop there, after feeling convicted about the changes we need to make? We say things like “that really makes you think” or “I hope God doesn’t want me to do that.” We comfort ourselves by saying “God doesn’t call everybody to do [fill in the blank here]; some of us have to work to support them financially.” While that may be true, God still calls us to surrender our lives to Him, and we struggle with that.
In chapter 4 of his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan asks “Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life?” If our answer to these questions is no, then we are merely hearers of the Word and not doers of it. If our answer is no, then we need to examine ourselves to find out why. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we need to allow Him to change the way we live, to change our perspective on what’s important in life. If we will do that, we will experience God’s abundant blessings.
“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” (James 1:25 ESV).