How is one deceived by only listening to the word of God? James teaches us that just reading God’s word does not do much for us; benefit comes when we put what it teaches into practice. It is like an accountant who reads the IRS tax code, but does not use it to benefit his or her clients. Or its like someone who reads about clean healthy eating, but does not give up fast food for fresh vegetables. James insists that wisdom involves obedience. Eugene Peterson offers perspective from a different angle, he says that one of the consequences of disobedience is the feeling of defeat and failure. In other words, it keeps us stuck in the past with feelings of guilt. This makes sense, for when we know what we ought to do, and don’t do it, we often feel guilty about it. The idea is to get beyond the past, and move forward with God. What things are you clinging to that prevent you from putting what you read in Scripture into practice? Will you let go of these things so you can move forward in obedience with God and put his word into practice?
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.