Nike commerials and ads depict the energy and strength of the athlete and connect with something inside us that makes us want to be that person. And they always close with their slogan “Just Do It”. Nike isn’t the first place we see the “Just Do It” idea. The New Testament book of James written 2000 years ago expresses the same message. James writes to Christ-followers commanding them to not only hear what Jesus said, but to do it. Don’t just wear the shirt, the shoes, the sweat band…get out there and put them to good use. Too many people listen to God’s word and agree with what the Bible has to say, but they never put it into practice. They never allow it to change and influence their lives. No matter how many cool workout clothes you have, how many pair of running shoes or how much exercise equipment, if you never put them to use they will be of no benefit to your health or wellness. Likewise, you won’t improve your spiritual health because of your Bible knowledge or church attendance. A Christian must act on what they hear, listen to, and know–“do” as God’s word commands. Allow the Holy Spirit to coach and correct and move you forward in your spiritual walk.

Mt 7:24, 26; Lk 5:8; Jn 8:32; Ti 3:3-6; Js 1:21-25, 2:26; 1 Jn 1:9; Job 42:5-6; Isa 6:5;

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Js 1:21-22)

James compares a person who listens to God’s word but does nothing with it, to a person who glances in a mirror and then forgets what they look like. Others turn the mirror to reveal another person’s reflection with whom they compare themselves. If I feel that I’m better than the next person, then I can justify and deceive myself into thinking I’m ok. However, James says that looking intently into God’s word and continuing in it, is what brings freedom. When we not only hear God’s word but do what it says, we will be blessed by it. Our only comparison should be to Jesus. We are not asked to measure up to any other person on this planet, only to keep our eyes on Jesus. Looking intently into God’s word reveals truth; it keeps us from being deceived. It moves us forward. Allow God’s word to move you and change you and bless you!

How does God reward faith? How does God reward works? How can you be saved by grace through faith in Christ (there’s nothing you can do yourself), and yet James says faith without works is dead? Can you see progress in your spiritual life? Do others see progress in you? How are faith and works together the perfect plan? How are people deceived into thinking they can work their way to heaven? Do you do good works and then expect others or God to reward you? If so, what is wrong with that idea? What is right about that idea?

Write down some actions/attitudes from the Bible that you know God expects of you (things like humility, forgiving someone or being generous with what you have). Discuss with a Christian friend how you are living out these things in your life and what you need to work on. Ask God to help you.

Dear Lord, reveal through your word and your Holy Spirit the things that I need to do to move forward in my spiritual growth. Give me a heart to serve others because of what you have done for me. May my faith propel me to do the good things that you have planned for me to do to honor you. In Jesus’ Name I pray.