On Being Forgetful or Effectual- James 1:25

This post today is basically a summary of my devotions. God is speaking really clearly to me and I need to write it down so I remember!

James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

I am going to think about this scripture phrase by phrase. This is a method I used to use a lot when I memorized scripture in big chunks. It helps me to focus and think about each phrase, and then look at the big picture.

  • “Looks intently at the perfect law.”

What are you looking at in scripture? I remember a pastor saying that there’s a difference between a “glance” and “looking intently.” When you’re driving, if the light is green, you glance and go. But if it’s red, you stop. You wait. You look intently at the light so you know when it changes. This is how we should look at scripture. This is so basic. We, as Christians, need to be looking at scripture. We need to be considering our source. The Bible should fascinate you!

  • “Law of liberty”

James is calling the gospel the new law, contrasting it to the old covenant law. The old law was perfect, unattainable, damning. It’s whole purpose was to show us that we are not able to work our way to God. The new law is the gospel. The amazing, redemptive, one-time-for-all work of Jesus on the cross. This law gives liberty and freedom. James is saying that we need to purposefully look into the law of freedom, remembering Christ daily.

  • “Abides by it”

To abide with something means to live with it. To be “at home” with it. What thoughts are you “living with” daily? Take a minute, and try to think about your thinking (metacognition). If you had a audio recorder in your brain all day long, what would your thoughts say? Are you thinking about yourself, your needs, your wants? Are you thinking about other people, either positively or negatively? Is it an uplifting narrative? Is a depressing discourse? If we are abiding with “the perfect law that gives freedom” that means that we are daily considering the cross and our savior. Of course, we have practical and earthly concerns and thoughts. But don’t let a day go by without abiding with the Lord and his word.

  • “Forgetful hearer”

This hit me like a hard truth that I don’t want to hear. Yes, I admit, I am a forgetful hearer. I remember that hymn that says “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love” (Come Thou Fount, traditional). How are you preventing forgetfulness and your wandering mind? It is not a matter if you will forget, but how fast! For me, blogging and writing sermon notes really helps me. Being intentional about one specific thing I “take away” from each message or scripture helps me too.

  • “Effectual doer”

What am I effectually doing from scriptures? A few months ago, I was in a Bible Discovery Method Class, and that bible teaching method says that if you don’t learn and apply the truth from the scripture you talked about in the class, then you must not have learned it well enough. So if you come back the next week with no testimony of how it was applied or no testimony about who you shared it with, then you have to re-learn that same scripture while the rest of the class moves on! Perhaps that’s a little extreme of a method to use here in our culture, but it’s a good reminder that we need to be an “effectual doer” of scripture, not just hearer. To be transparent and open with you, I’ll tell you what I’m trying to “effectually do” from scripture. Right now, I’m working on effectually being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19)” because I know that the Lord has given me the Holy Spirit and some of the fruit of the Spirit are peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. Those are areas where I want to grow to be more like Jesus.

  • “He will be blessed in what he does.”

The thing that stood out to me here is that he doesn’t wait for the blessing to start doing, he is currently doing something and God will bless.

Let’s put this all back together, like a puzzle.

James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

So I hope this encourages you to “abide” with some scripture today and to be an “effectual doer” and not a “forgetful hearer.” God bless!


*Featured Image is from Do Not Depart, which is a site that encourages Bible memorization!  Check them out!


One thought on “On Being Forgetful or Effectual- James 1:25

  1. These are such good thoughts. I’m glad you captured them and then shared them here. I particularly like your comments under “abides by it” – I really try to take every thought captive, but it is very difficult. Abiding with the Lord and his word makes it easier. I’m on verse 18 this week of memorizing James 1 so you’re making me look forward to getting to verse 25. 🙂


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