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March 11, 2014

Hearer or Doer?

Over this past weekend, I was privileged to be a part of a large group from my home church who attended the Wildfire Weekend men's impact event held on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. If you've not heard of Wildfire, its mission is: (1) to create a movement that inspires men to deepen their relationship with God, the one who placed these longings of competition, adventure, and the outdoors in their soul; and (2) to use what men love - hunting, fishing, football, baseball, motorcycles, classic cars, sporting competitions, racing, extreme sports and other outdoor activities - to bring them closer to the heart of God. A number of headline names made appearances during the course of the two-day event, including Drew Brees, Max Lucado, Paul Teutul Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Joe Teti and Jase Robertson. Regardless if it was during a one-on-one interview with a celebrity, a large group challenge from a pastor, or a recreational workshop hosted by an expert in that field, the 10,000 of us in attendance were offered solid spiritual truth and application to help us recognize where and how God was currently speaking to and molding each of us into His likeness. It was truly a powerful event and a life-altering weekend.
James 1:22-25 (NASB)
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

I can attest that no one who left Wildfire Saturday evening had any reason not to be challenged and convicted, but even more so motivated and encouraged to draw closer to God and become the man, the husband, the father, the leader, the warrior that He intends for him to be from here forward. And years from now, many men will point back to this past weekend as the spiritual turning point in their lives. Unfortunately, though, there will also be the man who attended Wildfire who quickly slips back into his same old rut and routine, his broken lifestyle and his same stagnant, spiritual self. This will be because even though he may have good intentions, he will let the busyness of life and family keep him from effectively applying the spiritual truths and challenges to his life once he returns home. Similarly, there will be the man who came to Wildfire for the sole purpose of getting his yearly 'fix' or 'high' from attending a high-powered men's event, and he will attempt to use the aura he captured this past weekend to keep his spiritual batteries charged for the next few months. But unfortunately, when this feeling fades, he will find himself lower spiritually than before he attended Wildfire, because he rarely if ever digs into the scripture for himself. Neither of these approaches are effective or sustainable in drawing us closer to God or improving our spiritual lives, and neither are they what God intends for us.

See, we are encouraged in the first chapter of the book of James to be doers of the Word, to apply it to our lives and let it change us, rather than merely hearers, who do not apply it and even quickly forget what we have heard. Matthew Henry's Commentary says it this way: "Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are."

So I ask you - are you being a doer of the Word that God puts before you, whether it be through an impact weekend speaker, your daily scripture reading or your pastor? Or are you merely a hearer, not applying and then forgetting the principles that God wants to use to alter you spiritually? Blessed is the doer. - GE

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