Recently, the Winter Olympics united millions of people around the world. For seventeen days, we watched elite athletes compete for gold medals. Perhaps your family, like mine, spent hours curled up together on the sofa cheering on your favorite competitors.
When it comes to the Olympics, most of us are spectators. Unfortunately, many of us have a spectator theology, as well. Many Christians are content to let others champion God’s causes, make disciples of the nations, and live sacrificially.
But when it comes to our faith, we were never meant to be spectators. James writes to the church, “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). We weren’t created for a life on the sidelines. We are active participants in God’s redemptive work. We are to be doers of the Word (James 1:22).
Dear sister, know that God’s commands are good, and when He tells you to be a doer of them, it’s for your good. You don’t want to miss out on the joy of obedience (John 15:10–11).
What Do We Do?
God tells us plainly what to do in His Word. He says in Deuteronomy 10:12–13:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?”
In Micah 6:8, He requires us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
We can also follow Jesus’ example in being a doer of the Word. He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). Doers must look to our Father and then mirror His actions.
God is reconciling man to Himself, and we join Him in that work by sharing the message of reconciliation with all nations (2 Cor. 5:19). We know God cares for orphans and widows (Ps. 68:5), so we do likewise by living compassionately toward them. God forgives us our sins (1 John 1:9), so we forgive the offenses of others.
We imitate Him in these things and many more. But the way we imitate Him matters.
How Do We Do Obey?
God’s commands are good, but obeying them can feel daunting. We need Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We obey our Father, not in our own strength but in His (Col. 1:29). We are weak, but it’s in our weakness that God’s power is displayed (2 Cor. 12:9). He equips us with “everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:21).
Our obedience on this side of heaven will always be imperfect. But God satisfies His demand for perfect obedience through His Son, and He accepts Jesus’ obedience on our behalf. Jesus stood before God as our substitute and received His just wrath for our sins, and He stands before God to substitute His obedience for ours (2 Cor. 5:21). We can only obey as we abide in Christ.
Through the grace of regeneration, we receive new hearts (Ezek. 36:26) with the ability to obey. Ezekiel 36:27 says, “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
God gives us the ability to obey, but why we do His Word matters.
Why Do We Obey?
God tells us to do His Word, and that’s enough reason to obey. But we’re doers of the Word for more reasons than the divine “because I said so.” We’re God’s children. Like Jesus, we just want to do what we see our Father doing.
We are to be motivated by love, not obligation (John 14:15). Every act of our obedience is a declaration of love for Him. Every time I choose not to gossip, I’m saying, “I love You, Lord.” When I forgo that new outfit so I can help the family in my local church that lost their job, I’m saying, “Father, I love You and delight to do Your will.” We don’t submit to His authority because we have to but because we want to. It’s our joy to please Him (Col. 1:10).
We were made to glorify God. Our obedience brings God more glory (John 15:8). Our Father is busy advancing His kingdom on earth, and we want to join Him in that work (1 Cor. 3:9). We do His Word “for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom. 1:5).
Be a Doer, Not a Spectator
Watching the Olympics on my couch is entertaining, but eventually I turn off the TV and go to bed unchanged. In much the same way, the life of a theological spectator is safe and comfortable, too. This existence will never satisfy. You were made for more, sister. You were given life in Christ for a purpose (Eph. 2:10). Don’t waste it with inaction.
God wants more from you than your attention. He wants your actionable obedience. He wants you to be a doer. Go next door to your sick neighbor and tell her about the God that heals all our diseases. Go to the soccer field and cheer for your child’s friend who has no father present and teach him about the heavenly Father who never abandons us. Give sacrificially so that family in your local church can go live amongst an unreached people group to share the gospel.
Doers must be knowers. We must know God as Father. We must know what His Word tells us to do. We need to know His promises. God’s Word offers a promise for those who obey. James tells us that “a doer who acts . . . will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25). Our greatest blessing will come in the form of a beautiful inheritance in Christ. But the blessing is only for the doers. Let’s be doers of the Word.
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