Forgetful Hearer or Effectual Doer?

You ever witness a child that was in a constant state of listening for their parent’s voice, waiting and willing to obey, and the moment something is asked, leaped into action?

Yeah, me neither. Now, after you’ve scooped yourself off the floor from laughing, read on.

This is exactly the kind of quality God is looking for in us!

James 1:22 exhorts us to be doers of the word. Doer is a noun, not a verb. The verb in the sentence is “be,” meaning to have the quality of. We are to have the quality, features, nature, character of a doer. A doer of what? The Word… God’s voice… His command.

It’s the attitude of a child of God that is in a constant state of listening for their Father’s voice, willing to obey, and the moment they hear a word, they act.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:24-27 that the person who hears the Word of God and acts on it has their house built on a solid foundation. When the inevitable storms of life hit, they can withstand them.

Those are the people in camp one. The people in camp two are simply “hearers,” also a noun. The quality of a “hearer” is listening without practicing what they hear. Hearers deceive themselves because the information received didn’t do any good or make any difference in their lives. It is like the seed falling on terrain that yields no crop.

Scripture has got to go from being highlighted in our Bibles to being highlighted in our lives.

Jesus was a doer. He got stuff done!

How did Jesus do it? He was in a constant state of listening for the Father’s voice, willing to obey, and the moment He heard a word, He acted. He is our example.

We have to set ourselves in a place of listening. Spending time in and with His Word in whatever fashion that takes. Scripture, prayer, sermons, writings, podcasts, worship... God can use it all. It is the attitude of Mary sitting at His feet and focusing our attention on Him.

When we hear from the Lord, that is the starting point, not the endpoint. It must be lived out, but to do so there must be a heart that is willing.

I don’t know about you but I tend to have selective hearing when it comes to things I don’t really want to hear. That is the polar opposite of willingness. This willingness to obey whatever the Lord speaks requires trust. It really boils down to our view of God and His character.

Do we believe He loves us, has the absolute best for us, and knows what He is asking? If the answer to those questions is a yes, then being unwilling to obey would be foolish.

Why wouldn’t we be willing to obey a God that guides us only towards what is good for us? This, my dear friends may be what we need to wrestle with and may explain why our obedience is so erratic. I know it pierces my heart.

If we will listen, with faith and a readiness to obey, then we are ready to act.

We were created to do good works, which God has already mapped out for us (Eph. 2:10). You are a new creation and that creature wants to obey the Lord; make better friends with it than the old nature.

The antonym to “works” is loitering. We have no time to be milling about. We have work to do and that work is to obey. Not just in the big stuff, but in the little moment-by-moment stuff.

Whether that obedience means we shut off social media and spend time with Him. Or reach out to a friend the Lord places on our hearts. It may be to take that thought captive or run that thought through the filter of God’s word. It may be to give to the local church or serve in a ministry. It may be to hold our tongue. It may be to preach the gospel despite the fear. Or to be the first to apologize, seek restoration.

Whatever the act of obedience looks like if we abide by the heard word then verse 25 tells us, we will not be “forgetful hearers but an effectual doer.” And what follows?

End of verse 25, “This man shall be blessed in what he does.” “Blessed,” meaning “that state of being marked by the fullness of God.” There is no greater blessing and is our state in Christ.

“I fear we have many such in all congregations; admiring hearers, affectionate hearers, attached hearers, but all the while unblest hearers, because they are not doers of the word.” ~Spurgeon

Will you be a Doer?

Have the attitude of a child of God that is in a constant state of listening for your Father’s voice, willing to obey, and act the moment you hear His word, and you will be blessed!


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Who made heaven and earth,

The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.

Psalm 146:6