“But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”–James 1:22
Commenting on this verse Vance Havner wrote:
Chief among the besetting sins of the saints is hearing without doing. And it is a grievous sin, for “to him that knows the good he ought to do and fails to do it, it is sin.” In Ezekiel’s day they heard the preacher, complimented him, told others about him, but did nothing about the message. The centuries have passed, and today we listen to preachers, invite others to hear them, congratulate them with that very doubtful compliment, “I enjoyed your sermon.” But we do nothing about it.
Let it never be forgotten that, although we may do nothing about the Word we hear, the Word will do something to us. The same sun melts ice and hardens clay, and the Word of God humbles or hardens the human heart. Truth heard and not acted upon is a dangerous thing. Spiritual impulses which are not translated into action have a disastrous reaction.
It is well known that many movie-goers who are continually being excited and stirred in the world of make-believe become emotional drunkards. But there are also religious drunkards and Bible-conference drunkards and church drunkards, who go from meeting to meeting, constantly being stirred but doing nothing about it, until their souls become fed-up, their moral muscles deteriorate and they lose their capacity for being aroused. Presently they suffer from a moral let-down, a religious hangover. They delude themselves. They have heard the best preachers, they have read the best books, they have had their ears tickled and their emotions thrilled, but as with a stimulant the doses have to be increased and after awhile there is no effect, no matter what they read or hear. An alarm clock that fairly blasts us out of bed on the first morning may eventually fail to arouse us. Something like that happens to those who hear and take no action upon it.
It is a serious thing to trifle with any emotion and not carry it through to its proper and legitimate conclusion. And it is most dangerous to play with the holy stirrings of God’s Spirit through His Word. I had rather take chances with forked lightning any time. For the Word of God is dynamite, it is a hammer, a fire, a sword; messengers of the Word are a savour of life unto life and of death unto death. The man who habitually hears the Word of God and does nothing about it is the greatest of fools, for he fools himself.