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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Execute

by Marilynn Chadwick

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)

To execute is to translate ideas into actions. For any business, the ability to execute is critical to the bottom line. In spiritual matters, we execute when we live out the truths we’ve learned in Scripture—we put feet on our faith.

The book of James exhorts believers to execute—to be doers as well as hearers of God’s Word. "Faith without works is dead,” he challenges (James 2:26 NKJV). His words can make us squirm. Sometimes a single word may be just the inspiration that moves us to action.

As we continue our journey through James, let’s pause and reflect. James calls us in these verses to dig deep. Do we really believe our beliefs, or do we merely hold an intellectual assent to the faith? “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25).

Some believe James treads dangerously close to a works-based theology. Reformation champion, Martin Luther is said to have called James an "epistle of straw" and thought it shouldn't even be included in the New Testament.

I disagree. In fact, the book of James has been one of my strongest faith-builders in the entire New Testament. James has a way of putting me into hard places that grow my trust in God. Do I truly believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection covered my sin? If so, that belief should propel me into a life of action and good deeds. Have I found practical ways to be both a hearer and a doer of God’s commands and his calling?

Mother eagles are known to be quite nurturing. Yet their method for teaching their young ones to fly is a swift push out of the nest! They swoop down and catch the baby eaglets as they falter, repeating the flight lesson again and again until the little ones are soaring like...eagles! Just like a mama eagle, James pushes us out of our cozy nest of faith with a call to action. We may hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Go there, to that one who needs the Father’s love. Serve this broken one over here. Share your living water with this thirsty one.”

Our heart begins to beat faster in response to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. We step out…take a risk…and find that our faith takes wings. Our trust grows big, and before you know it, we will be soaring like an eagle!

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