May 20, 2024

The Difference Between Hearers and Doers

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22


The Bible tells us over and over that we shouldn’t just hear what God says, but do it. Most believers know more about the Bible than we actually put into practice. Why is that? We know it’s beneficial to act on what Scripture says. But it’s also detrimental if we don’t. So, what’s the difference between hearers and doers?


First, hearers practice self-deception. 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” (James 1:23–24). In other words—not seeing ourselves as we really are.


For example, during a sermon we think about someone else who needs to hear the message, but don’t recognize our own need for it. God’s Word is a mirror. It shows where our lives don’t look like Christ. When we approach Scripture humbly and honestly, we act on what it reveals about us. And a life of faithful obedience has God’s favor and blessing on it (James 1:25).


The second difference between hearers and doers has to do with being foolish or wise. Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who builds his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). You probably know the rest of this story. The wise man’s house stood in the storm because it had a strong foundation. The foolish man’s house, however, fell because it was built on shifting sand (Matthew 7:25-27).


There’s a big difference between admiring the teachings of Jesus and acting on them. You can go to church regularly and read your Bible during the week, yet build your life on a faulty foundation. Do the practices of your life line up more with political ideology or biblical truth? The first is foolishness! The shifting sands of what’s culturally acceptable cannot compare with the firm foundation of Jesus—our Rock.


The Christian life is more than knowing what God says. It’s putting His Word into practice in everyday life. Warren Wiersbe puts it this way, “When we trust God’s Word and act on it, then God’s power is released in our lives. And faith releases that power.” What has God’s Word revealed about you today? Will you trust Him and act on it?