Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pharisee Part 7 - On Being and Doing

James 1:22, King James Version

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 1:22, New International Version

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Both translations say the same thing. But, depending on how you read it, one sounds more "active" than the other.

Be ye doers sounds so... sweaty; like you're about to start working on an assembly line at a chocolate factory (doopity-doo).

The Pharisee is like -- well -- one of Wonka's Oompa-Loompas. He works feverishly and emotionless at making sweets for children. He is tireless and relentless in his work. The difference between the Oompa-Loompa and the Pharisee however, is that the Pharisee usually only pretends and gives people the impression that he's actually working. The Pharisee spends more time making sure everyone knows he is "holy".

The only difference between a Pharisee and any other believer is the mask the Pharisee so desperately works at keeping on. The Pharisee spends more time focused on making sure everyone focuses on his mask -- the mask that says "I am a good Christian" -- then actually doing any good work at all.

Even though "Be ye doers" sounds ominous and daunting, it simply means to obey the word of God. James goes on to say "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

The perfect law that gives freedom is the one perfected in Christ, freely given to us, requesting nothing in return. That is what we are to be "doers" of; living in his grace.

So there is no need to fake it; no need to wear a mask. You're not impressing anyone worth impressing. Loosen up! Don't be so uptight. Come to grips with the simple fact that Jesus loves you, and live joyfully in that knowledge.

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