Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. – James 1:22

My men’s Bible study is talking about James 1. Verse 22 is on my mind because it comments so powerfully on life. “You can say anything you like, but after a while your words mean nothing if you don’t follow through” (author paraphrase).

Jesus said this time and again: “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). “Only those who do the will of my Father will enter the kingdom” (Matthew 7:21). “Peter said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep’” (John 21:17).

Paul had the same idea: “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus… what is important is faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:6). You can pay lip service to religion all you want, but what Jesus calls for is love that makes a difference.

It’s easy to say we are people of faith, but what if we remain mean-spirited, dismissive of other people’s ideas and rude to everyone from the cashier at the store to other drivers on the highway?

How about telling your spouse, “You know I love you…” when your actions show something else? If you are unwilling to back up your words with consistent change, then does “I love you” or “I’m a Christian” mean anything at all?

Jesus stands with arms open wide, offering grace and mercy to absolutely anyone who wants to come home; but at the same time he is very clear regarding what he expects.

“If you love me then let your light shine!” If we love Jesus it’s going to transform the way that we treat others. Not, “You have to follow these religious rules to be saved” but that Jesus points out the obvious: “If you really have been reconciled to God then it’s absolutely going to show.”

“Seriously, people,” Jesus will say, “I’m telling the truth, I have no idea even who you are…” (Matthew 25:11-13).

Just read the Book of James. I dare you – DEREK

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Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at