But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (ESV)
Perhaps you have heard the quote, "Wives, we will do the things you asked us to do, you don't have to keep reminding us every six months." There is a big difference between doing and hearing. James gives us very clear direction. We are to not just read the Word of God, we are to do what it says. You would think that James would not need to remind us, but we know different.
This concept of action following hearing reminds us again of the Great Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4). In that great passage that every Jew would have understood who heard James' words, it starts with "Hear, O Israel." The word for "hear" was more than a physical acknowledgment of what was said. Rather, the word meant, "hear with the intention to obey."
We need to hear the Word of God with the intention to obey. In the previous verses James talked about the one who responded to God's Word with anger, refusing to obey. That response does not produce the righteousness of God. He then talked about how we should get rid of the moral filth that would hinder us from hearing the Word of God, but now it is a call to action.
Don't just hear something, do there! The sad reality is that there are many people who come to church week after week, hearing the Word of God with no intention of changing the way that they live. If the church was full of doers of the Word there would be a radically different church. I believe that the world is desperately waiting for the church to rise up and do what they have heard in God's Word.
So, what are you going to do? You have heard the Word today. Are you going to obey? Your family, your community, your Church, and your Savior are waiting for you to rise up and do what the Word of God tells you.