Bible Study, James, Repost, Spiritual Formation

Living it Out

(This is a re-post since I’m working through the book of James again.)

I have often stated that teaching is information for transformation. But what is the opposite? What happens when we teach or when we learn but are not transformed?

In a conversation with George May (Pastor of Counseling and Family Ministries at Calvary Church), he used the following quote (I need to find the author):

Information without Application leads to Deception.

We are reminded in James 1 that God’s goal for us is not comfort or happiness but completeness and maturity (James 1:2-4).

So, when we face trials our primary response should not be “get me out” but “grow me through.” Our prayer should be, “Give me wisdom and grow my faith through the circumstances of life” (James 1:5-8).

The more God grows our faith, the more steadfast we will be under trials (James 1:12).

The challenge is to continue to trust God even when the trial seems endless or unbearable. We should not be deceived, God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:16-18) and is not the One tempting us to sin (James 1:13). It is our own strong desires that when not surrendered to God lead to sin, lack of self-control and all sorts of evil (James 1:14-15, 19-20).

In contrast, the individual who in meekness received the implanted Word of God (James 1:21) is to be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer only which leads to self-deception.

Therefore, information without application (the “doing”) leads to deception.
Deception of ourselves–we are not who we think we are and therefore tend to be judgmental of others
Deception of others–we are not who they think we are, but are wearing a mask of information to impress

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (ESV)

James 1:23-25 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. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 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. (ESV)

Information without Application is Deception

What then honors God and gives evidence of a growing faith?–obedience. An obedience that is evident in how we speak and react (James 1:19-20) and how we reach out (James 1:26-27).

James 1:26-27 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)

Information without Application is Deception

So we must engage with God and His Word and extend to others as a means of growth and evidence of growth.

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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