There are a few expressions that I would like to repeat:
“Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses, that has become a professional troop of performers, financed by lay spectators.” (author unknown)
“Christian idolatry can be seen when believers: worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship.” (author unknown)
“Christianity began in Judea as a community, was taught in Greece as a philosophy, was conducted in Rome as an institution, permeated Europe as a culture, in America became a lifestyle, which today has turned into a business.” (Brent Bolin)
In 21st century America we have become a society of spectators. We practice watching people live, which can only be done when we momentarily stop living ourselves.
We watch television, we watch theater movies, we watch rented videos and DVD’s, we watch plays, we watch musicals, we watch music videos, we watch music concerts, we watch lounge acts, we watch standup comedians, we watch casino shows, we watch basketball, we watch baseball, we watch football, we watch soccer, we watch golf, we watch billiards tournaments, we watch the Olympics, we watch dog shows, we watch rodeos, we watch dancing, we watch auto racing, we watch dirt bike racing, we watch fishing, we watch hunting, we watch TV Evangelist, we watch choirs, we watch Teachers, we watch Preachers, we watch as others live life, and worst of all we watch each other, caring too much what others think, rather than doing what God has told us to do.
However, we are told to be doers, and not hearers only.1 In fact we are told:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
What the Holy Spirit is saying through James is that IF you are a hearer only, you are deceiving yourself. The text goes on to say,
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”2
This allegory illustrates that if all you do is hear in regards to the Word of God, and don’t do what it says, its like briefly looking at your reflection, but forget it as soon as you leave the mirror – you go live life and forget what the Word says – practice keeps the Word of God alive in your life.
A final expression to think about is found on a cathedral in Lubeck, Germany, which states:
Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.
Ye call Me Light and see Me not.
Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.
Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.
Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.
Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.
If I condemn you, blame Me not.
1. James 1:22
2. James 1:23-24