hear + do (james 1 in action)

We’re going to get down to some nitty-gritty living-out-our-faith-for-REAL details here in a minute, but first, a quick recap of the James Read-Along Day 1.

Oh, friends. Today (Wednesday) was amazing. Thank you so much to each of you who wrote a post or left a comment or just soaked up some thoughts from the sidelines. I loved your insights and I so appreciated your honesty, and I learned new things and felt all happy and blessed (and also convicted and poked).

I even got a smidge riled up a time or four, but thankfully, I have a built-in Bible study partner/sounding board one desk over, and he helped me process some things I might have just spewed all over the internet and regretted immediately after.

Anyway. Feel free to keep discussing, and keep clicking on everybody’s posts, because there’s some good, good stuff in them hyperlinks.

Now, Let’s Be Doers and Not Just Hearers!

Today is a day for practical applications, so I’m not going to get into any theological discussions about being-saved-by-faith-alone vs. faith-apart-from-works-is-useless (James 2:20). The bottom line is this: we are supposed to go beyond just reading/talking about James Chapter 1 and DO WHAT IT SAYS.

I’m going to share a handful of examples of some people who I believe are living out specific verses in James right this very minute. Then I’m going to share some things I plan to do in the coming hours/days/weeks to put some of this into action myself.

And here’s where I need your help. I want you to do the same. Tell me about someone who’s living James, and then tell me something YOU are going to do to become a doer, not just a hearer.

Let’s start with at the end, the last verse of the chapter (27–the one about widows and orphans).

Meet Danielle. I won’t tell you all the parts of her story that I know, but you’re more than welcome to read everything she’s written publicly on her blog. Long story short, she and her husband are adopting a young girl, an orphan. The situation is difficult, this sweet girl’s circumstances are so hard, this will not be easy, but Danielle and her husband are obeying God.

And Rachelle (you can see her sweet comments on yesterday’s post). She and her husband have four biological children (pre-teen to teenager) and are in the process of adopting a sibling set of 3 more. That’s seven children (SEVEN) ages 9-17. I have loved every conversation I’ve ever had with Rachelle about all God is doing in and through her family. Her humility and willingness to obey just shines out of her.

“Did God call us to this humanly ‘impossible’ task?” she asks. “I am absolutely sure. And the overflow of blessing is amazing. First we had to let go of OUR plans, hopes and fears. I feel so privileged to parent all of these children, it is undeserved grace.”

And Jen. I was first introduced to Jen when I read this book of hers and got my world pounded. We’ve since struck up an online friendship, and I adore her more and more each time we chat. She and her husband recently adopted 2 kiddos from Ethiopia, and this is one of the most brutally honest, ugly-yet-gorgeous accounts of adoption I’ve ever read in my life.

I wish I had time to share more precious families with you.

Maybe you’re not called to adopt. Maybe you (and I) should ask God to be sure. Will you take a minute to pray for one of these families or an adoptive family you know?

Look at v. 26 (bridling that tongue) and v.19 (slow to anger). Is there a certain someone or situation that brings out the worst in you? How might you take steps to bite your tongue and keep awfulness from blaring out?

What’s an area of your life right now that’s bringing out the doubt in you? (v. 6-8) Can you give it over to God? And trust him to take care of it? For real?

Are you pursuing riches and prosperity instead of Jesus (v.11)? What’s something tangible you could do today to help turn your affections to God, not your possessions?

Is there anything you’re doing that just might qualify as being “stained by the world?” (27) What kind of plan could you put into place for some stain removal?

Some Small Things I’m Going to Do to Get Started:

–write a letter to my sweet Grandma, a widow in a nursing home.

–write to our Compassion child, Maria, in Mexico.

–go the entire day without reacting in anger/using my tongue for evil with my middle daughter as we navigate this homeschooling thing.

–believe that God has my children’s future schooling in his hands and not fret about it.

–sell something I have as a rich person and give the $ to someone who needs it.

–read my Bible more than I read other books (this one might be the hardest of all for me).

Enough of Me, Let’s Talk About You:

1. Tell me about someone you know who’s living James. and/or

2. Tell me something YOU are going to do to become a doer, not just a hearer.

27 thoughts on “hear + do (james 1 in action)

  1. Krysten

    1. My friend Mary embodies being a doer to me. She is not a person who you’ll find signed up for every single thing happening at church each week, or out in front of everything. She is very wise about how she spends her time and always puts her family before other commitments. She’s slow to speak harsh words, & she’s the best listener I’ve ever known. I, on the other hand, blurt out whatever is in my filterless head and later have to clean up the mess.
    2. I posted the longer version of this answer on my blog today, but the two things that top my list are being slower to speak/eager to listen (SUPER hard for me!) and asking God for wisdom each day. I do so many things before asking Him what He thinks, then I wonder why things aren’t working the way I want them to!

    Praise Him for being bigger than all of my junk! I know He will help me shed those things that don’t look like Jesus at all.

  2. Ellen R.

    1. Tell me about someone you know who’s living James. and/or

    We have several women in our church who faithfully and loving perform the mundane tasks of the church and do it with such a cheerful spirit. These women serve in the church nursery, church kitchen, plan meals for expectant moms, etc. These are often the thankless tasks but they are a great example for me to follow.

    2. Tell me something YOU are going to do to become a doer, not just a hearer

    I’m really starting to seriously pray about the direction God has for our family. I feel so lost sometimes, but I know that God has a plan.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thanks for sharing, friend. You’re so right about people who do thankless tasks with selfless hearts. So many times I’d rather be in the spotlight than behind the scenes doing the really hard stuff. 🙁

      Prayed for you and your husband just now that God will give you some clear direction and the courage to head down that path.

  3. Jessica Cardwell

    I’ve so much been enjoying the comments and insights the last 2 days. I haven’t been able to read everything yet, but I want to.

    One of the things that has stood out to me that others have written about is controlling my tongue and being slow to get angry. I too often find myself frustrated at my son or my husband and I am too quick to speak. I know I need work in this area and God has used this read along to remind me.

    It’s been wonderful to see the genuine reflections as we all encourage each other to be doers of the Word!

  4. Melanie

    I lost it the other day with a few of my students at school. They would not stop talking to each other even while I was talking. I yelled. I said (yelled), “Hey, I’m doing my job here, can you please stop talking while I’m talking.” I was angry and I overreacted. So today I apologized to those students. I gave no excuses and didn’t put the blame back on them. I walked up to them and confessed. This was my way of walking out James. And guess what? Two of the 3 kids admitted they were wrong and apologized back, without being prompted.

  5. Tonia

    Man oh man, why did I sign up for this study? At the moment I really feel like James is whacking me upside the head. I remember listening to Joyce Meyers once talk about being careful what you pray for because God will provide. Like prayin for patience, results is many difficult trials that you’ll endure so you an opportunity to practice and grow.

    Rigt now I have decided that instead of crewing a huge list of should’s, I’m going to focus on two things, studying scripture and prayer. I have a lot of other things in my life that take up WAY too much time I.e. Crafts, Internet, TV.
    I need to FOR REAL start limiting the amount of time I spend on these things and replace them with quality family time and being with God

    1. Marla Taviano

      Mine is reading. I usually use the excuse, “Well, at least it’s better than watching TV, and at least I’m reading books about spiritual things.” But I know I need to be in God’s word way more than I am.

  6. Candice

    There is a precious couple from our church who adopted a special needs little girl, Lily, from Ukraine a few months ago. They have been in and out of the hospital with her ever since with heart issues and all sorts of things. They are hard pressed but not crushed!

    Today, I am going to consider some of my “trials” pure joy, and praise God for them. I will not let my tongue complain.

  7. Brooke

    gonna work on the “slow to speak” part tonight. going to a church in-home study (Christian Atheist). in situations like these I tend to think outloud with the group, rather than (like you mentioned regarding your blog) thinking things thru and weighing them against scripture.

    also i know our family routine well enough to know i’ll be annoyed that i’m the dinner maker and dish do-er & that it’ll be a rush getting out the door after all that to get to my study. biting my husband’s head off on my way to learn about being a better Christian isn’t exactly God’s best for us. i need to think deliberately each thought i have, each word i say as if eternity depends on it.

    because it does.

    1. Sharon W

      Brooke, I can so relate to biting your husband’s head off just before going to Bible Study. I always get anxious when we have company coming over and it makes me mad that I am the one rushing around to clean up the house and make dinner. Why does that responsibility always fall on my shoulders? But, it sure isn’t fun to be mad at your husband and try and entertain company at the same time. The same thing happened when I was doing a Saturday morning Bible Study. It would drive me crazy that my husband would sleep in and I was expected to get up early with our daughter, get myself ready for Bible Study, and then wake him up just before I left so he could watch our daughter. Then during Bible Study, my heart would be softened as what others were saying made me realize that while my husband is not perfect, I am so fortunate that he is the one I married. (Not that it was a husband bashing Bible Study, but true prayer requests would come up that made me realize I really have nothing to complain about). And the Bible study always ran way late (we only met once a month) but my husband never complained that I’d been gone for a couple more hours than I had originally said I would be.

      1. Brooke

        Sounds like I’m not the only one needing to be more thoughtful. 🙂 We’re so blessed yet we take it for granted. Somethings hearing other’s trying times can give us the right perspecitve.

        I’ve read countless blogs from other women married to non-believers and each time I read their story I have to stop and thank God that I have priviledges that many of them don’t.

  8. ellen

    my concept of being a doer is changing rapidly – I live with a doer (my daughter) who is teaching me – wow that’s amazing – being a doer is LOVING and that’s what all the people in the previous posts are doing. Showing God’s love . If all boils down to that and many times I spend more time planing what to do than doing things —

  9. Claudia

    When I think of someone walking out James I think of you. I know that you think that you tend to jump on one bandwagon and then another but that is not the case at all! You hear God speak and you don’t hesitate…you do!!! Along with this you also very openly seek God’s wisdom.

    God is really speaking to me about how we are to compel people to Christ. This isn’t a popular method in today’s culture but the parable of the banquet in Luke 14 has really been on my mind. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict but we need act on the urgency that is all too real…none of us is promised another day so we need to be speaking up.

    1. Rachelle

      Caludia, this reminds me of a quote I’ve read several times. Can’t recall from whom, it’s a story about a dying woman. The woman’s friend asks, “How does it feel to know you’re dying?” the dying woman replies, “How does it feel to pretend like you’re not”.

  10. Holly B.

    When I read these words, I thought immediately of my father-in-law:

    6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

    He is someone who left his own country to be a missionary in another, and has lived through many trials with absolute faith in God. His life is like one of those riveting missionary biographies! :o)

    I plan to (with God’s help):

    -write to my Compassion kiddo.
    -memorize James 1:19; praying for God’s grace to live it out moment by moment.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Got your e-mail and prayed for you & A this morning, friend. The first year of a baby’s life will do much to produce perseverance/steadfastness in one’s heart. 🙂 Hang in there, girl! It will get easier!!

  11. Danielle

    Dear friend, I just had one of those big, ugly, trying not to wake my husband up kind of cries when I read that you asked people to pray for my family. I know you said pray for one of the families you listed, or another one you know, but it still blessed my wrecked little soul to think of distant brothers and sisters praying for any family loving on orphans, especially mine. I thank my God when I remember you in my prayers!

    I want to mention our friends the Ways. They are in process of adopting a little girl from Russia. i have seen God grow this couple so much in the last few years, and it just blows my mind that they will have 3 kids whom they are raising up in righteousness. They LOVE orphans, and are practically to the point of being the reason there is one less orphan in the world.

    How will I, Lord willing, do what God has laid on my heart through James?
    1. I will seek to let joy grow in my heart through this season.
    2. I want to listen to James, Ephesians, and Romans 8 every day. These are things I’m studying/trying to memorize with others, and I want to hurry up and listen to them. This is also a way to stop staining myself with the world, since I can’t veg out with the TV when I’m listening to God’s word.
    3. I want to be slow to anger with my husband. Somehow in my emotional tumult I have forgotten that my sweetheart has a broken heart too, and it’s my job to care for it, not to break it more with my insensitivity.
    4. I need to keep asking God for a gentle and *quiet* spirit.

    1. Marla Taviano

      You’re so welcome, beautiful friend. We’re working on your care package today. So much fun!

      And your #3 hit home with me–in my quest to hold my tongue w/Ava, I totally blew it with Gabe before he left for work. Sat on the steps and cried after he left. So far to go.

      1. Danielle

        I totally blew it last night with JJ, and then while i sat stewing in the other room God wouldn’t leave me alone about being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. i thought of Ps 119:11, and then had to laugh because it seems like the more I have God’s word in my heart, the more easily he can convict me of the dark places within it. I’ll be praying for your tongue, and for Ava’s heart.

    2. Rachelle

      I agree Danielle, there is nothing more humbling than knowing and feeling that the people of God are praying and standing in the gap on your behalf. My hope rests in knowing that our prayers are heard by God.

      Praying for you!

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