Study, Do, Listen

As we finish up our series on the Holy Spirit, we go to James 1:25, “But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.” (CSB) James is speaking to Christians here, and he is encouraging them in how to live a life of obedience to God, studying God’s Word, doing what it says, and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

When we learn things that God brings to our attention, it is our responsibility to act and walk in obedience to His Word.  Our faith must be put into action.  We need to keep our hearts open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He guides us in our walk with Jesus.  James gives us instructions on how to accomplish those tasks.

We are to look “intently” into God’s Word.  This gives us the idea that we are to really dig deep into what it says.  Some truths may be more difficult to understand, and so for us to be able to do what God is telling us, we need to study Scripture until we get everything out of it that we possibly can.  Meditate on what we have read, and then as we gain understanding we are to do what it is telling us.

Meditating on God’s Word means we are to really think about what we’ve read.  Mull it over and over in our mind until it becomes a part of us.  As we study God’s Word, we need to ask for Him to open our minds and hearts to understand what we are reading.  The deep truths of the Word are there for us to dig into and make a part of our lives.  James tells us that one who does this and doesn’t forget what they’ve read, then acts it out in their lives, is the one whom God will bless.  As we dig into God’s Word, listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to help us understand, and then letting what we’ve learned become a part of us, we grow in our faith.

Once we’ve followed the instructions in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV) then we need to put what we’ve learned into action.  We are to do what the Bible tells us.  Part of what Paul tells Timothy is that we are to “rightly divide the word of truth.”  This requires wisdom and knowledge.  We are to seek out the correct meaning of the Scripture we are meditating on.  That may require looking at commentaries or asking your pastor or someone who is more knowledgeable in Scripture, for understanding.

This also ties into the next step, listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  When we follow the precepts of God’s Word and listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides us into the right pathway we are to take, we not only grow in our walk with the Lord, but we will find the blessings of God in our lives. 

Listening to the Holy Spirit can be hard.  I know for myself; I have found it difficult to know whether I’m hearing from the Holy Spirit or if what I feel God is telling me is nothing more than my own wishful thinking or desires.  Sometimes, I need to pray and ask God to make it so clear that there is absolutely no doubt that it comes from Him.  Sometimes I need confirmation from someone else, like a Word of Knowledge from someone who is so in tune with the Spirit that I know I can trust what they tell me. 

Praying for Spiritual insight helps us in knowing what the Holy Spirit is saying.  As we continue to look to God for understanding, we will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to follow God’s Will in our lives.  The more we practice listening to the Holy Spirit, the easier it will be for us to know without a doubt that the Holy Spirit is speaking, and then we must step out in faith and follow His instruction. 

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