This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
James continues his discussion on the testing of our faith by switching gears to the ideas of putting one’s righteousness into practice. The backdrop of trials and temptations is still there in the context so it makes a lot of sense when James begins by telling people to listen, keep their mouth shut and not get mad. Anger is allowed but James warns that nothing righteous has ever resulted from the anger of man. Therefore we are to lay aside all that remains of our wickedness.
The basics of behavior covered, James switches to what we are to embrace which is he Word of God but he a pretty specific command about it. – Do it, don’t just hear it. He observes that a person who hears the word is like someone who looks in a mirror and then walks away and forgets what he looks like. The Word of God has the same effect showing us what we need to change and follow but if we don’t do it well we are just not getting the point of looking into the Word. The point of God’s Word in our life is to show us who we really are and what we need to change and do to fulfil God’s commands. The one who understands this will be blessed in all that he does.
Next: Testing Your Faith – Part 6 (Chapter 1:26-27)