Your Beam, Their Speck

Your Beam, Their Speck

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. 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.

Religion says lots but does little. James flips the script and says that what we truly believe is more clearly revealed by the lives we live than the words we speak. When all is said and done, far more is said than done. Judas serves as a painful example as he helped lead Jesus’ ministry, praying prayers and singing songs while stealing money.

As Christians, if we say we accept God’s Word, that means we also need to live by it. Otherwise, we become hypocrites pointing out the speck of sawdust in their eye, while overlooking the lumberyard we’ve collected in our own. If we only listen to or read His Word, but don’t meditate on it and allow it to change us, James says our “religion is worthless”.

Some people need more information – they need to read the Bible more, study more, and learn more. Many, if not most people, need more obedience – they need to act on what they already know before they learn anything else.

We may know a lot about the Bible, but our actions will show what we believe. Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher who was a bit of a sniper in the Spirit, once said, “If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simple painted pageantry to go to hell in.”

To make this as practical as possible, consider these examples. Going to the gym does you no good unless you exercise. Buying your vitamins does you no good unless you take them. Having a seatbelt does you no good unless you buckle it. And owning a Bible does you no good unless you obey it.

Are there places where it’s easier to see others’ speck rather than your plank? Ask God to help you use the Bible as a mirror for your own sin rather than a magnifying glass for others’ sin.

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Mark Driscoll
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