Thought for the Day – James 1:22 on Self-deception

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22 (NIV)

Reading can be a dangerous thing. When I was a young boy I was captivated by the idea of flying a plane. I remember reading Jules Bergman’s book, Anyone Can Fly. The book so fascinated me that I was sure after my many readings that had I set foot inside a Piper Tri-Pacer, I too could fly. In my own mind, absent of any hands-on flight training, I was already a pilot. Among my friends I boasted like I was one too.

So it is with anything we read or hear. It’s easy to think we could master — or even more deceptively, think already have mastered — something just because we read about it. This self-deception is especially pernicious when it comes to God’s word. We can read Matthew 22:39 about loving our neighbor as ourselves, for instance, and quickly pass over that familiar verse because we’ve heard it a million times. Or, we could have listened to a message from the pulpit and thought of all the other people we know who could have benefited from hearing it. In neither case do we ask, “In what ways I could I apply this truth today?” Could it be that when we stop asking that question, it’s because we’ve already deceived ourselves into thinking we don’t need to change. Yes, reading can be a dangerous thing.

Your thoughts? What have you read recently that you intend to act upon?

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